The previous answers are correct as most lenders require at least 3 months escrow as a condition for providing a mortgage. I have seen some lenders require up to nine months tax escrow. This money is still yours, however, and will come in handy when you sell the property.
On a side note, if they dip into your reserves to pay larger bills, they will more than likely adjust your escrow fee to a higher monthly rate and may even ask you to replenish the lost reserves. To the contrary, if your bills decrease as I have also seen happen, they may refund some funds back to you since they are regulated on the amount of reserves they can hold back. Hope this helps.
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Taxes are due in most areas in March-May of the year. You will need to pay the taxes for the former owner, but they will rebate that to you at closing. Any taxes you will have to escrow at closing will be put there by the seller. You may even get to keep some of it.
Ask your lender what your escrow needs to be and ask your attorney what the seller will provide per contract for the tax proration. They will have those numbers.