How to gain legal ownership of abandoned property?

UPDATED: Aug 26, 2017

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How to gain legal ownership of abandoned property?

A single woman passed away and her condo, which is free and clear, is still in her name. It has been

abandoned for 11 years. Can I claim the property legally?

Asked on August 26, 2017 under Real Estate Law, Nevada


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

No, you cannot. The fact that a property has allegedly been "abandoned" does not let someone else claim or take or acquired it. Even if there is no mortgage on it, there may be taxes owed, which would give the government first call to it; and even if there are no taxes owed, the property will pass either by will to whomever is designated, or if no one was designated by will, according to the rules for "intestate succession." And if there is no one who would get the property under a will (e.g. there was no will) and no relatives close enough to inherit under intestate succession, then condo "escheats" to the state (it becomes state property when there are no heirs).

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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