Only your attorney can give you an opinion to the question, “Who is legally responsible for paying county taxes in the year a property is sold?”
As you see Kentucky statutes appear to say that the owner of the property on the assessment date, January 1st, may be responsible for the taxes. “All persons in whose name property is properly assessed shall remain bound for the tax, notwithstanding they may have sold or parted with it.” – KY 132.220(1)(b)4.
I can’t believe anyone would tell you to ignore a summons to a lawsuit, particularly an attorney. I think you are on the right track when you say, “(I) am seeking another opinion from a second well respected real estate law firm.” This is exactly what I would advise. Your instincts are correct to not ignore a lawsuit in case of a default judgement.
Even if the attorney giving the second opinion says you won’t be responsible you need to respond to the complaint. That may be as simple as filing a motion. A competent attorney will tell you how you should respond. In the meantime I do have some non-legal advice…stay calm. Being sued elicits an emotional response and can be very upsetting. But as long as you do not ignore the suit, justice will probably prevail.
So stop looking up statutes and rely on a competent attorney and this will probably turn out to be nothing more than one of life’s little annoyances…if you can call being sued a little annoyance.