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Questions Answered by Ross Cameron Hart
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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2 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law for Virginia on
Q: do I have right to my parents house when I am the steps daughter to my dad real daughter to my mom
Ross Cameron Hart
Ross Cameron Hart answered on Nov 27, 2020

There are at least three answers to this question depending on facts you didn't provide.

If step-dad and mom owned the property in survivorship and

1) Step-dad died first, then you will have an interest when your mom dies unless she left a will providing otherwise....
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1 Answer | Asked in Probate for Virginia on
Q: In VA, do you include a simple joint checking account with deceased in estate inventory? Father and daughter.
Ross Cameron Hart
Ross Cameron Hart answered on Nov 27, 2020

Have you consulted an experienced lawyer? There are a lot of considerations that many people don't know, such as the answer to your question. At least once a month I save my clients a lot of money - a multiple of my consultation fee - because of those details.

That said, if you look...
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2 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law for Virginia on
Q: In response to your response. We were able to maintain the home because my brother was living in the home at the time

They entered the nursing home and is on disability therefore Medicaid can not include it as asset, as I stated he is not interested now in continuing to stay after dad passes I don't want to lose my parents home my question is IF he decides after our Father passes not to remain in the home and... Read more »

Ross Cameron Hart
Ross Cameron Hart answered on Nov 10, 2020

That your brother was on disability and living in the house is (1) a detail not in the original question and (2) an exclusion from Medicaid recovery and spend-down for care. However if he vacates then the house loses the protection and may have to be sold.

As I said, consult an elder law...
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1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for Virginia on
Q: My mother recently passed my father is still living in nursing home their will states my older brother is to be given t

The family home which he has moved into already the home still has a mortgage for 8 more years he is already struggling 6 months in to it if he walks away from it and my dad passes and I assume the home can my brother come and take it from me.

Ross Cameron Hart
Ross Cameron Hart answered on Nov 10, 2020

There's a whole lot more to your problem than your brother moving into the home. What does the deed to your parents for the home say? Was the property in survivorship (tenants by the entirety)? Your father is in a nursing home; how is his care being paid? Is he on Medicaid? If so, he owns... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law for Virginia on
Q: Is an unrecorded survey valid for a new owner when the purchase agreement used the original deed and description?

The new survey was completed in 2015 and changed the lines significantly. Both parties signed the new survey. This new survey was not recorded by either party (the smaller property is surrounded by another very large property on 3 sides, with a road as the 4th side). Neither party changed their... Read more »

Ross Cameron Hart
Ross Cameron Hart answered on Nov 8, 2020

I agree with Mr. Seddiq's response. There's a lot of important, basic, information missing from your question. This forum is designed and good for simple, general questions that will get you to the 'next step' for legal situations. Sometimes all people need is a simple answer.... Read more »

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2 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law for Virginia on
Q: Are mortgage companies required to file a deed of trust on a property they purchase from another mortgage company?
Ross Cameron Hart
Ross Cameron Hart answered on Nov 6, 2020

Your question is not clear. I assume you have an existing mortgage, held by company "A". You have now been told that the loan is held by company "B". If that is the case, then no, "B" doesn't have to file a new deed of trust (or anything else for that matter).... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Elder Law for Virginia on
Q: What happens if the primary residence is jointly owned when applying Medicaid?

My parents are applying for Medicaid. We know that primary residence doesn’t count as an asset, and that Government will take the equity when my parents die.

What happens when the house is jointly owned, do they still come after my parents die?

Ross Cameron Hart
Ross Cameron Hart answered on Nov 2, 2020

Don't let them do anything without consulting an Elder Law Attorney. It is possible to keep the house (and the equity) if handled correctly. There are a lot of 'hidden' methods and a competent Elder Law Attorney can be a big help. You can find one by going to the Virginia Academy... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for Virginia on
Q: My parents was never married my dad was a cosigner my mom passed away my dads name is still on the title to my moms hous

What rights does he have he havent lived in the house over 10 yrs how i can put my name on the title

Ross Cameron Hart
Ross Cameron Hart answered on Oct 25, 2020

You question leaves out a lot of information that is needed for us to provide an answer. This forum is designed and good for simple, general questions that will get you to the 'next step' for legal situations. Sometimes all people need is a simple answer. From the facts you’ve given, it... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law for Virginia on
Q: I am selling my moms house to my cousin. There is no mortgage and price agreed. Do I need a real estate lawyer?

Do I also need to hire a lawyer or can I sign the contract from my cousins lawyer and be done? He is obtaining a mortgage which is part of the contract. No one else has ever owned this property besides my mom. She does not live there and I have power of attorney to sign contracts, including real... Read more »

Ross Cameron Hart
Ross Cameron Hart answered on Oct 25, 2020

Can both you and your cousin agree that one lawyer can handle the whole thing? Yes. But there are nuances (tricks) that may affect the transaction.

What concerns me is that you say your mother had dementia - that indicates she is, or may be soon, in a nursing facility and you want to get...
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2 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law for Virginia on
Q: My mom / dad cosigned a house together they split up was never married my mom made all the payments she passed away last

Month i paid the remaining balance they they sented the title to me but my dads name is still on it and he wont sign it over to me what should i do im the only child i own the land as well

Ross Cameron Hart
Ross Cameron Hart answered on Oct 25, 2020

You asked this question twice - here's my answer to the other version:

You question leaves out a lot of information that is needed for us to provide an answer. This forum is designed and good for simple, general questions that will get you to the 'next step' for legal...
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2 Answers | Asked in Landlord - Tenant for Virginia on
Q: VA Can landlord charge me an "opt-out" fee for choosing a different rental ins co than the one they offer?

I already have renters ins that meet their requirements from my auto ins. They offer it through a specific company but I would like to keep my own without paying them an opt- out fee. Is it legal to force a rebtal company on me?

Ross Cameron Hart
Ross Cameron Hart answered on Oct 23, 2020

I had to look it up, and was dismayed and surprised to see that the landlord can charge an 'opt-out' fee - see Virginia Code 55-1206 A, here: https://law.lis.virginia.gov/vacode/title55.1/chapter12/section55.1-1206/

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2 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law for Virginia on
Q: Can a sibling evict me from my home when both names are on the deed? She claims she is only required to give 30 days.

My sister has drafted a home made eviction notice and is stating I need to leave the home within 30 days according to Virginia law. Both of our names and two other siblings names are on the deed. She is also claiming there was a verbal agreement that while she moved into the home, that no other... Read more »

Ross Cameron Hart
Ross Cameron Hart answered on Oct 13, 2020

Mr. Sternberg is correct - all 4 of you own the house together and equally. This is called 'tenants in common' and you are 'co-tenants'. No co-tenant can prohibit another co-tenant from using - and living in - the property.

You may have to partition the property - and...
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2 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law for Virginia on
Q: Our rental agreement is through 2024 and we’ve rented from same owner for 7 years, but the owner has decided to sell.

We were just notified by a realtor our landlord wants to sell their house. Of course, we’ll try to work out an amicable purchase price from our landlord, but he believes his property is more valuable than the current market dictates. What should we do to in the interim to protect ourselves... Read more »

Ross Cameron Hart
Ross Cameron Hart answered on Oct 9, 2020

Your rental agreement is for more than a three year term, and so to protect your interest it should therefore be 'recorded' in the Clerk's Office of the Circuit Court for your where you live - to do that it needs to have a notary which I'm betting it doesn't.

To...
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1 Answer | Asked in Contracts, Estate Planning and Probate for Virginia on
Q: In VA: can the deceased's lawfirm file a change of address for the deceased w/o notifying next of kin?
Ross Cameron Hart
Ross Cameron Hart answered on Oct 4, 2020

It is impossible to answer a bare question such as you posted without any context - is the firm the executor of the estate or do they represent the executor? If so, then yes they can.

2 Answers | Asked in Products Liability and Landlord - Tenant for Virginia on
Q: I have evicted a house guest. Can I place their items outside?

I had a house guest that overstayed their welcome. They signed a 30 day eviction notice and left without argument. However, they left items in my house that take up space I need to use. I made arrangements to be home for them to pick up the items and they didn't come. I've given them a... Read more »

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

While you could simply dispose of it, you run the risk of a judge seeing things differently and making you pay for the extremely valuable stuff (which you never saw) the 'guest' claims was left in the house. Instead as this happens fairly frequently, I have a suggestion which costs a... Read more »

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2 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law for Virginia on
Q: Can I be blocked from a private road to a property I want to buy if there is not a deeded easement for the road to it?

I am interested in buying a property that does not have a deeded access. There is a private road connecting it to a county road. The listing agent says that road cannot legally be blocked, denying me access to the property. If this is true I want to buy the land. When I was shopping for a... Read more »

Ross Cameron Hart
Ross Cameron Hart answered on Sep 23, 2020

Mr. Sternberg is correct - except I'd hire a real estate lawyer to advise me, NOT a title or settlement company who cannot give advice or interpretations of documents. Your contract should be written such that you have or will get INSURABLE ACCESS to the property and that YOUR LAWYER must... Read more »

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2 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law for Virginia on
Q: How would I go about a home sale if we are buying a house from a friend without Realtors?

An acquaintance let us know that hey would like to sell their house and move. We are buying connected property already. She has not listed it. Can someone tell me in simple terms, how this would need to be handled legally in Virginia? Also, we would be buying it outright in cash. Thank you.

Ross Cameron Hart
Ross Cameron Hart answered on Sep 22, 2020

As Mr. Sternberg says, for many good reasons, go to an experienced real estate lawyer. (hadn't thought of having a licensed agent in my office . . . hmmm)

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