Are IRS tax liens public record?
April 13, 2009 8:40 AM   Subscribe

Are IRS tax liens part of the public record? If so, is there a public database where I can access current/historical liens against individuals?

A relative recently passed away without a will on record. His assets should be distributed evenly among his heirs (per NYS probate law), however, one of his sons is trying to be named executor of the estate. He's a pretty sketchy/untrustworthy guy...among other things, I'm told that he has/had IRS liens against him (among his other skills is social security/disability fraud, but I think that's much harder to prove).

His siblings want to ensure that this guy isn't named as executor, as they don't trust him for a second, and figure that showing a history like this would pretty much cause a judge to disqualify him as a potential executor and name an impartial third party in his place. I'm there a place where one could look this stuff up to get a confirmation of sorts?
posted by raz5 to Work & Money (6 answers total)
Best answer: Sorry for your loss.

And I fully understand this isn't what you are asking, but the group of not-slimeball heirs need to lawyer up. The lawyer will be able to locate the needed information and documentation to disqualify him as a potential executor.
posted by jerseygirl at 8:52 AM on April 13, 2009

Best answer: Definitely get a lawyer. Even if you do find potentially incriminating information, only a lawyer is going to be able to leverage that into a desired result.

For what it's worth, though there is such a database, it's not web-based; you're going to have to go down to the courthouse. Which is kind of a pain in the ass, and exactly the sort of hassle you pay lawyers to deal with. A New York attorney will be able to come up with relevant info here in a fraction of the time it would take you anyways.
posted by valkyryn at 9:31 AM on April 13, 2009

If you can get yourself to a public law library (maybe a law school at a public university near you?), both the Lexis and Westlaw databases have tax lien databases. Westlaw has a dataset called "adverse-all" which includes liens and bankruptcies. I can't remember what the file in Lexis is called, but a law librarian should be able to help.
posted by jillsy_sloper at 9:44 AM on April 13, 2009

Response by poster: I appreciate the help and advice - thanks!
posted by raz5 at 9:52 AM on April 13, 2009

As an attorney working a case which is on the back end of where you are at, a lawyer is needed immediately. These things can go really bad. I'm really wary of a person who actively campaigns for the job of executor.
posted by Ironmouth at 10:42 AM on April 13, 2009

Sorry, Personal Representative. There is no executor in an intestate estate.
posted by Ironmouth at 10:42 AM on April 13, 2009

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