Buyers who purchase tax sale property often seek to "quiet title" to their purchases. This is a necessary task if a buyer at a county tax sale wants to sell the property, and the new buyer wants to obtain title insurance. Lenders almost always require title insurance. These title insurance companies have a heightened review of tax sales, so they look pretty closely at the quiet title action before issuing title insurance.
Often, no one contests the suit, so getting an order is not too hard after the initial work is done. However, getting an order that satisfies the title insurance company is much trickier.
What happens if a tax debtor cannot be located and served? Or what is he or she has passed away? These are common circumstances and there are methods to deal with this. Yet the methods can change depending on the particular circumstances.
Often, the tax debtors and lien holders don't respond to the quiet title action because of resignation or ignorance. Tax debtors and lien holders often ignore the service of the quiet title action, and are therefore subject to default. Even lenders with big loans on the properties sometimes don't enter an appearance in these actions in time. Then, after the statutory time has passed (30 or 45 days, depending), judges will sign orders for uncontested cases.
But lien holders still have rights after a default, and can get an order thrown out. It happens. This is why it's important to work with an attorney that understands the title insurance business.