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Questions Answered by Ross Cameron Hart
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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2 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law for Virginia on
Q: If a spouse dies, can the husband or wife sell the home and collect all the proceeds if both names are on the deed?
Ross Cameron Hart
Ross Cameron Hart answered on Feb 4, 2021

I'm restating your question:

1) Husband and wife own real estate.

2) the deed to husband and wife conveyed the property and included EITHER of the following two phrases: "Husband and Wife as Tenants by the Entirety", OR "H & W as Joint Tenants with right...
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2 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law and Landlord - Tenant for Virginia on
Q: I need case remedies for wv code 37-6a-5
Ross Cameron Hart
Ross Cameron Hart answered on Jan 28, 2021

This forum is for reviewing a situation - a series of facts - and those with expertise then respond as appropriate. A bare question such as this won't get anywhere.

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3 Answers | Asked in Landlord - Tenant for Virginia on
Q: I gave 45 days notice to terminate a month to month lease so I can move back in. Is tenant protected under moratorium?

The month-to-month lease they signed states I must give at least 30 days notice - i gave 45. I need to move back into my house. Tenant now (30 days after notification) states they are protected under Federal COVID eviction moratorium and will not leave. Is this true? They are willing to pay another... Read more »

Ross Cameron Hart
Ross Cameron Hart answered on Jan 18, 2021

My understanding is that the moratorium is only for non-payment of rent. Any other reason (not money) for termination of a lease is still valid. I suggest you contact an experienced landlord tenant lawyer in that area for advice.

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3 Answers | Asked in Landlord - Tenant for Virginia on
Q: If I need to move back into a property I just rented. Been 6 months, lease is for 12. Can I give a 60 day notice?
Ross Cameron Hart
Ross Cameron Hart answered on Jan 8, 2021

Probably not. You agreed to a year and the tenant relied on that.

Turning it around, would you let the tenant break the lease if they wanted/needed to move?

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2 Answers | Asked in Probate for Virginia on
Q: Can a non executor close the bank account of someone who is deceased?
Ross Cameron Hart
Ross Cameron Hart answered on Jan 5, 2021

Mr. Sternberg is correct - if the account had joint ownership or survivorship then the individual named - even if also the executor - could close it. Also, if the estate was below $50,000 it falls under the 'small estate act' provisions of Virginia law and no formal administration (court... Read more »

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2 Answers | Asked in Landlord - Tenant for Virginia on
Q: I am a landlord and I do not have a written lease for any tenants am I required to supply them with internet
Ross Cameron Hart
Ross Cameron Hart answered on Jan 4, 2021

No, you are not required to provide internet - or any other utilities.

HOWEVER, if you haven't given them a written lease, then Virginia has written one for you and they have the right to be there for a full year. See 55.1-1204 of the Virginia Code. If you trust a bunch of...
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2 Answers | Asked in Divorce and Real Estate Law for Virginia on
Q: Good evening, I recently divorced my spouse and want to have his name removed from my mortgage loan. Is that possible?

My home is located in Virginia Beach

Ross Cameron Hart
Ross Cameron Hart answered on Dec 17, 2020

Mr. Sternberg is correct - you'll have to refinance to do it. Lenders are a pain in the neck on this stuff - assuming you actually find someone at the loan servicing company who understands what you're doing. The important thing is to get a deed from your ex for their share of the... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Divorce and Real Estate Law for Virginia on
Q: My wife and I are having issues. We have 2 houses in her name with a POA. Can she sell the property

I travel overseas for work and have given full POA to my wife. We are having issues and I am afraid she may sell our properties and take all the money. I am not sure if she can take all the proceeds from the sale? What can I do to protect my share? 2 houses in NJ and one in VA.

If she... Read more »

Ross Cameron Hart
Ross Cameron Hart answered on Dec 14, 2020

You can revoke a power of attorney at any time. It's as simple as "I hereby revoke the power of attorney given to (name) dated (date)." and then sign it, give her a copy, and make a written note on a copy when you handed it to her. Mail copies to banks, tenants, and anyone who deals... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law for Virginia on
Q: Contract to purchase real estate. Seller passed away.

I have a contract to purchase a residence and the seller passed away a week ago. Do I have any legal way to enforce this contract as her son is harassing me and saying the contract is void and that he is going up on the price etc.

Is the contact still legal and can I purchase for the... Read more »

Ross Cameron Hart
Ross Cameron Hart answered on Dec 4, 2020

You need to hire a lawyer. This isn't a do-it-yourself project.

A contract survives death and can be enforced against the estate. And there's a statute that applies Virginia Code 64.2-523 here:https://law.lis.virginia.gov/vacode/title64.2/chapter5/section64.2-523/

But...
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1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for Virginia on
Q: In Va if you have a contract to purchase a piece of land and the seller dies before it can be closed on. What options

The seller passed away after the contract was signed. We have been paying the mortgage payments for 7 years on her behalf.

Do we have any recourse to have the contract enforced.

Also what happens if the heirs refuse to honor the contract.

Ross Cameron Hart
Ross Cameron Hart answered on Dec 3, 2020

There are several ways this can still happen, but you'll need a good experienced real estate lawyer to help. There is a statute that applies to pre-death contracts (64.2-523 - here: https://law.lis.virginia.gov/vacode/title64.2/chapter5/section64.2-523/) but you really need the help of a... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Probate for Virginia on
Q: My mother passed in Oct with no will or executor. Her only asset was a mobile home that was paid for, but she rented

the lot. The home is valued at 8,000 but she had credit card debt in excess of 10,000. Do I need to go through the probate process? I have several other questions regarding this matter.

Ross Cameron Hart
Ross Cameron Hart answered on Dec 3, 2020

I agree generally with Mr. Sternberg. However, if the mobile home is titled (likely as it's in a park) then there may be a process with DMV where you, as sole heir, can get title. You can then sell the mobile home IF YOU WANT TO. There are several moving parts to this and a lot of ways you... Read more »

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