Massachusetts Agencies

Notice Regarding Estate Tax Lien


Although an estate tax lien arises when a person dies, there's no necessity to give notice to the commonwealth on account of such lien when foreclosing a mortgage. The reason for this is two-fold. First, under G.L.c 65C, §14 it is provided that the death tax lien "shall not be valid . . . as against a mortgagee . . . ." Second, with respect to liens against property being foreclosed upon, the foreclosure statute itself requires notice only to "persons of record as of thirty days prior to the date of sale holding an interest in the property junior to the mortgage being foreclosed . . . ." (Emphasis added.) A death tax lien arises by operation of law and is not "of record" as that term is used in the statute.[1] Compare this with the situation of a condominium lien, where it is provided under the statute that the recording of the master deed "constitutes record notice and perfection" of the condominium lien.

1 Sometimes a death tax lien is actually recorded with the land records. This generally happens in connection with the enforcement of the lien after audit. Although under G.L.c. 65C the lien is not valid against the mortgagee it might in such a case be required to give the commonwealth notice, inasmuch under those circumstances the lien would be "of record."