What can I do to takeover the deed on the house that is $40,000 in debt since my grandpa abandoned it?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

Advertiser Disclosure

It’s all about you. We want to help you make the right legal decisions.

We strive to help you make confident insurance and legal decisions. Finding trusted and reliable insurance quotes and legal advice should be easy. This doesn’t influence our content. Our opinions are our own.

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022Fact Checked

Get Legal Help Today

Compare Quotes From Top Companies and Save

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

What can I do to takeover the deed on the house that is $40,000 in debt since my grandpa abandoned it?

My grandpa and grandma have been married for 30 years. One day my grandpa just up and left. He has been taking care of my grandmother for the last 24 years. I ask my grandfather if he would sign the house over to me and he asked for $20,000 in cash. There is about $40,000 in, I believe, owed taxes on the house.

Asked on October 26, 2018 under Real Estate Law, Pennsylvania


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

You can't just "take over" the deed: the current owner (your grandfather) has to voluntarily sign over the house (e.g. quitclaim it) to you. So you have to essentially buy it from him for something he will agree to. 
If there is a mortgage, the mortgage (which includes reverse mortgage, HELOC, etc.) would have to be paid off when you take the house: the house cannot be transferred without paying these off.
Similarly, liens should be paid off. And any tax arrears would have to be paid or you could lose the house at a tax sale. Contact a real estate attorney to discuss this matter and understand the proceess and risks and costs. You may be better off walking away from the house and helping your grandmother find a new place to live, if neither you nor she can afford the payments or debt on the house.
Your grandmother should also speak to a family law attorney about divorce: if she files for divorce, she can seek support and money from your grandfather.

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.

Get Legal Help Today

Find the right lawyer for your legal issue.

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption