If you been paying taxes on a house for years, is it yours after a time?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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If you been paying taxes on a house for years, is it yours after a time?

I been paying taxes in a home that was willed to my uncle and he is out of state but I’ve paid the taxes on it for at least 20 years.

Asked on January 2, 2018 under Real Estate Law, Louisiana


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

No: making tax payments for another person does NOT give you any right to or claim to the home. You have voluntarily chosen to make these payments; your free choice to make payments for another does not give you ownership over the property. 
To get property in your state without buying or being given it or inheriting it, you have to follow ALL the requirements of "advese possesion," which are:
1) You took possession of the property *against the will* of the owner and without his permission;
2) you *actually* occupied or used the property--you have to be there, doing something with it, not just paying bills, etc.;
3) what you did was "open and notorious"--it would be obvious to anyone coming by that you were using the property (it can't be a subtle or hidden use; it must be visible and obvious);
4) only you used the property--no others, too; and
5) You did all the above for at least 10 years.
IF you met all the requirements above, you may be able to claim the property by filing a legal action in court. But paying taxes is not part of the equation and adds nothing.

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 AttorneyPages.com 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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