What happens to an IRS tax lien when a window sells a house?

Apr 6, 2012
Reaction score
My father-in-law passed away a couple of years ago. After he passed, while attempting to help my MIL with her finances, I found out that they hadn't filed his taxes in a decade and the IRS had been pursuing both MIL and FIL for some time.

After lots of trial and error, I decided to file the last 7 years of their taxes as Married Filing Separately (the IRS said that they didn't have to file the earlier ones). Had I filed jointly, my MIL would have never been able to deal with the debt. As a result, my MIL owed $10k and my FIL owed $150k. We used my MIL's only savings to pay off her tax bill. She is now clear with the IRS (sort of...).

As expected, the IRS slapped a $150k lien on their primary residence. The lien is only in my deceased FIL's name.

Now, my MIL wants to retire and move. The house is worth about $130k and they have an $80k mortgage in both of their names. So, we know she won't be getting a cent out of the property (we’re okay with that -- we just want to get the IRS debt behind us).

She's in Georgia (a recourse state). There were no other assets in involved other than the equity in the home. She does have a pension now in her name (from my FIL's old company) and is entitled to SS (we're waiting until she turns 67 later this year).

Can she sell the home and get of her mortgage obligation? What's the process? There are two mortgage on the home, both filed long before the IRS lien. Can the unpaid IRS lien follow her (it’s only in my FIL’s name) at all?


Ask a Question

Want to reply to this thread or ask your own question?

You'll need to choose a username for the site, which only take a couple of moments. After that, you can post your question and our members will help you out.

Ask a Question