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Questions Answered by Ross Cameron Hart
3 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning, Family Law and Real Estate Law for Virginia on
Q: When splitting up the money left in an estate, how do I take out judgements against beneficiaries paid by the estate?

I have 2 siblings, both of which had separate judgements paid off by the estate when we sold the family farm. The siblings along with myself were listed as co-owners of the estate when my dad passed, so the judgements had to be paid before any funds from the sale were released. I shouldn't... Read more »

Ross Cameron Hart
Ross Cameron Hart
answered on Sep 8, 2022

My first question is HOW was the property sold? Did the two heirs sell it or did the estate sell it? In other words, was the money paid to the heirs or to the estate administrator? If the heirs sold it and the money was distributed to them, then there shouldn't be an issue.

However,...
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3 Answers | Asked in Probate for Virginia on
Q: Who gets the house if both husband and wife die without a will and it never went to probate in Virginia?

My sister and her husband are owners of a home. Both have died and their son took over the house but never put it through probate. He is now dying and doesn’t have a will. He has diminished mental capacity at this time. Since the house is still in my dead sister and brother-in-law’s names,... Read more »

Ross Cameron Hart
Ross Cameron Hart
answered on Sep 1, 2022

Both Mr. Sternberg and Mr. Wilson are correct, and the answer can be complicated depending on family history. Simplistic analysis: ASSUMING Sister and Husband were parents of nephew (son) who was their only child. He owns the property whether or not their estate was 'put through... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Contracts and Landlord - Tenant for Virginia on
Q: Can a landlord deny a physical, signed lease in preference for an electronic one?

Submitted a physical lease prior to the expiration of my previous lease and was later informed that the property manager "did not accept paper leases" so I was charged several hundred more for the next month's rent because I had been transferred to a month-to-month... Read more »

Ross Cameron Hart
Ross Cameron Hart
answered on Jul 15, 2022

That sounds like nonsense.

You may want a lawyer to help you. I would suggest a 'tenant assertion' to have the court declare that a lease exists and you are due refund/credit/lower rent payments on the lease. You would file the assertion in the General District Court for the...
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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Virginia on
Q: When does the statue of limitations began on breach of fiduciary duty in va?

Estate has been opened since 2019, majority of breaches happened that year but va has two year statue of limitations. Not sure if I have a chance in court, or do I just have to take a loss?

Ross Cameron Hart
Ross Cameron Hart
answered on May 10, 2022

If a fiduciary mis-handles an estate, then having them pay improperly handled money and property is technically called a 'surcharge' and is suing on the bond. That statute is ten years - see Virginia Code 8.01-245, here: https://law.lis.virginia.gov/vacode/title8.01/chapter4/section8.01-245/.

2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Virginia on
Q: My stepsister sold house that my dad and her mom owned together without permission from her stepsiblings. No will. Ok?

Dad died in 12/2020 and her mom died early 2022. To my knowledge neither had a will. They live in Virginia.

Ross Cameron Hart
Ross Cameron Hart
answered on May 8, 2022

Mr. Sternberg is absolutely correct: it depends on how the deed was written when they got the house, or if your dad owned it before they were married, did he change the ownership to a survivorship with step-mom. If the deed has both names with either the phrase 'tenants by the entirety'... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for Virginia on
Q: currently unmarried and have a VA home loan/title solely in my name.What is best way to have spouse Added once married?

Is it possible to just have spouse added to va loan once married or are the only options: refinancing and adding them, doing a gift deed or quite deed? Mostly curious about having then added to the deed and not necessarily on the mortgage

Ross Cameron Hart
Ross Cameron Hart
answered on Apr 26, 2022

My first thought is "WHY?" Why would you want your (new) spouse to become legally responsible for a loan that you, individually, qualified for. You don't need to.

As for adding your (new) spouse to the title to the property, it's fairly easy and any real estate lawyer...
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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning, Family Law, Elder Law and Health Care Law for Virginia on
Q: See below.

My partner and I have moved back to the Charlottesville area to provider assist with his grandmothers care. It is the hope of my partner and his family that his grandmother can qualify for Medicaid, once she has Medicaid, she can be moved into an assisted living facility paid for by Medicaid. The... Read more »

Ross Cameron Hart
Ross Cameron Hart
answered on Apr 4, 2022

You are asking a very complex question on a short answer forum and mis-understand some of Medicaid rules. Aunt may or may not be wrong - there are several ways this can be handled.

You need an Elder Law Attorney to advise you, and Charlottesville has several very good ones who are...
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1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for Virginia on
Q: Ez-fiancee name on mortgage loan (as well as mine) but the deed is in my name only.

I have kept payments current in the mortgage for 3.5 yrs but would like to re-finance it in my name only. Do I have to get permission from him to do this? A bank is telling me he has to sign a form

Ross Cameron Hart
Ross Cameron Hart
answered on Apr 4, 2022

I start with the general principle that banks are stupid, and the bigger the bank the stupider they are.

To clarify: When you bought the property the seller delivered a deed which lists ONLY you as the grantee (buyer). To finance the purchase both you and your then fiancee was on the loan...
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1 Answer | Asked in Family Law and Elder Law for Virginia on
Q: Can I be appointed as my brother's guardian? And would I be financially responsible for my brother's care?

My 71 yr old brother was diagnosed with a brain tumor in January of this year. Humana Advantage Medicare denied his continued care at the rehab center as it reported that he was making progress (walking 20 feet with someone holding onto him is not progress). He lived alone & cannot live on... Read more »

Ross Cameron Hart
Ross Cameron Hart
answered on Mar 10, 2022

Short answer - yes, you can be appointed assuming your brother in law is not capable of granting a power of attorney. And no, you won't be financially responsible for his debts provided you ALWAYS say you're acting as guardian (or conservator.

BUT YOU NEED TO CONSULT A LAWYER....
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3 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law for Virginia on
Q: Hello i have a property that i was buying threw a rent to own contract my name was added to the deed. then lady passed

The family is trying to sell it and can't because the lady added my name to the deed. do i have rights to the land and what should i do. The family wants me to sign my name off it. I refuse because I have money invested in the property. In the event of her Death and she has no will would that... Read more »

Ross Cameron Hart
Ross Cameron Hart
answered on Feb 20, 2022

YOU NEED A LAWYER, NOT AN INTERNET ANSWER.

Most "Rent to own contracts" create problems for the parties, even those written by lawyers. The good news is that the lady added you to the title of the property (which is what you meant by the incorrect phrase that your name is...
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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Virginia on
Q: Estate question at Mother’s request- my father died 4 year ago. All assets were held jointly or with TOD to my mother.

Assets include property, bank accounts, stocks, mutual funds and vehicles. There is no debt whatsoever. After fathers death, my mother had all assets, except vehicles, changed to her name with a TOD to my 2 siblings and me. Property deeds were also changed to include a TOD. Question 1- when she... Read more »

Ross Cameron Hart
Ross Cameron Hart
answered on Jan 10, 2022

All great questions, and NOT suitable for a quick internet messaging site such as this. There are a lot of variables you haven't considered and not fully understanding them can cost you thousands.

Elder Law Attorneys handle this type of matter and can give you good advice. Most of...
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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Virginia on
Q: Family member in Alexandria VA. Not sure if he will survive. Don't know if has a will. need advice

Do I need to hire attorney to represent our family and handle the estate? If he passes away we do not know anything about life insurance or burial insurance but we will have to pay the bill for the funeral because we do not know any thing about his finances etc.

Ross Cameron Hart
Ross Cameron Hart
answered on May 21, 2021

I am sorry for your situation.

I always recommend consulting an attorney for an estate - depending on the estate we can save the family money and keep them from making mistakes in handling the estate. Consult a probate lawyer.

There's usually no hurry when someone passes...
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1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for Virginia on
Q: If a co-signer dies, what happens to the loan?
Ross Cameron Hart
Ross Cameron Hart
answered on Apr 10, 2021

The loan is still in force - the other individual will still be responsible for payment. It is also possible that the estate of the person who died will have to pay it - and in turn could require the other borrower to repay the estate. Every case like this is different and a lawyer should be... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Landlord - Tenant for Virginia on
Q: If you have a deed that is joint tenants with the right of survivorship can a will void that?
Ross Cameron Hart
Ross Cameron Hart
answered on Mar 13, 2021

For Virginia property, no. The only way a joint tenant with survivorship can 'break' the deed is to convey their share of the property to a third person.

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1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for Virginia on
Q: Is it legal in VA for a real estate listing to claim more bedrooms than the property septic is approved for?
Ross Cameron Hart
Ross Cameron Hart
answered on Mar 13, 2021

If the agent HAS KNOWLEDGE that the house has more bedrooms than the septic rating, then it could be an issue.

HOWEVER, no agents that I know (including one of the top five in my area) look at the septic certification before the listing. Agents rely on what the seller tells them (and they...
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2 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law for Virginia on
Q: Can it be argued that even if 2 people are on the deed of a house, the one who pays the mortgage is entitled to more?

This would involve a married couple

Ross Cameron Hart
Ross Cameron Hart
answered on Mar 3, 2021

Nope - unless a divorce court judge sees it differently.

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2 Answers | Asked in Land Use & Zoning and Real Estate Law for Virginia on
Q: Are my grandmothers nieces and nephews entitled to land that was owned by my great grandmother but never deeded ?

My grandmother had a mobile home on property that my great grandmother purchased. My great grandmother passed without a will but my grandmother has since paid the taxes on the property up to date. My grandmother had 7 siblings and only 4 are left which are all on board with a quit to claim deed in... Read more »

Ross Cameron Hart
Ross Cameron Hart
answered on Feb 25, 2021

The lawyer you talked to is correct. The interests of children of your great-grandmother goes to THEIR children on their death. I suggest you get deeds for whatever shares you can, then approach the others for their shares. This can be very complicated and time consuming. And you absolutely need... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for Virginia on
Q: Currently I live in a rental apartment of which my lease will auto renewal on March14th, 2021. A new property owner just

Took over the property of which I just received a notice that they are raising my rent 300.00 starting March 1st. Can they do this legally?

Ross Cameron Hart
Ross Cameron Hart
answered on Feb 25, 2021

It depends on the exact terms in the lease. Most leases that 'auto-renew' (1) state that the renewal will be for a specific period (such as a year, but some are 'auto-renewing' only month-to-month) and (2) have a 'notice' requirement that if either the landlord or... Read more »

3 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Virginia on
Q: How does the law apply when someone dies and a executor is named, then one of the heirs dies before the estate is

settled, what happens with the deceased heirs portion of the estate?

Ross Cameron Hart
Ross Cameron Hart
answered on Feb 11, 2021

In addition to specific language - or lack of it - in a will, timing can be important.

If (as in your question) an heir dies after the original decedent, then the interest goes to the heirs of the deceased heir.

If, however, someone ('H') named in a will dies before the...
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2 Answers | Asked in Land Use & Zoning and Real Estate Law for Virginia on
Q: In Virginia, can an owner of several lots develop a recorded easement that crosses over multiple the lots he owns?

I currently have a situation where a single person owned several lots and the single owner of the lots developed an easement over all lots that he owned for access in lieu of the approved unconstructed access road.

To my understanding, easements give you the right to do something on... Read more »

Ross Cameron Hart
Ross Cameron Hart
answered on Feb 5, 2021

I agree with Mr. Sternberg - you can basically create easements for benefit of some or all lots. Make sure that each user of the easement shares in the cost of upkeep. You'll need an experienced real estate attorney to help you draft something that works well

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