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Questions Answered by Gerald Barry Dorfman
3 Answers | Asked in Landlord - Tenant for California on
Q: If I ask to withdraw from a lease prior to the approval and signature from the landlord, can I be released?

I signed a lease in March before the Pandemic officially hit USA, I asked to be released in April (due to financial instability from the pandemic lay offs) and they told me no. A month later I received confirmation that my lease had just been signed and executed, I also received my copy of the... Read more »

Gerald Barry Dorfman
Gerald Barry Dorfman answered on Jul 2, 2020

You may very well be able to. The general rule is that an offer may be withdrawn before it is accepted. The devil is often in the details, so you would be well advised to have a consultation and document review with a qualified attorney, given the potential amounts in play.

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2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning, Real Estate Law and Small Claims for California on
Q: My grandparents willed their house to my mom and uncle. My mom quick claimed the house to my uncle, they were going to

Sell it. In the will no one was supposed to live in the house. It was to be sold. Now my uncle has cancer and my cousins are saying that my mom has no rights to the house. What can we do? They are being shady and greedy. I don't care about the money it's my mom's house also. They... Read more »

Gerald Barry Dorfman
Gerald Barry Dorfman answered on Jun 24, 2020

In addition to Ms. Whitehurst's excellent analysis, it is important for you to have an attorney review the chain of title. Some significant questions are whether probate was necessary or undertaken, whether your uncle was executor/administrator, and whether the quitclaim deed was given before... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Communications Law and Landlord - Tenant for California on
Q: Is there a time restriction for my guests ?

My property manager says it is in the lease

Gerald Barry Dorfman
Gerald Barry Dorfman answered on May 25, 2020

If you are talking about a guest staying with you, yes. A lot of leases do specify the limit to the amount of time a guest can stay. Usually it is a number of days in a given period of time, like "25 days per year" or "3 weeks every 6 months". Your first step needs to be to review your lease.

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for California on
Q: Rental application review

I have a rental application for a property in renting out and would like for someone to review it

Gerald Barry Dorfman
Gerald Barry Dorfman answered on May 6, 2020

This is a question and answer forum for general legal questions. If you need specific legal advice, you will have to pick an attorney and contact them directly.

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for California on
Q: How long before residing homeowner can obtain sole ownership?

Ca Real Estate joint tenancy home, 1 of the owners vacated the property leaving responsibilities, how long before the residing owner can obtain sole ownership?

Gerald Barry Dorfman
Gerald Barry Dorfman answered on Apr 30, 2020

There is no time limit for what you describe. Ownership does not automatically change (except for death). Unless the other party agrees to transfer their interest, you will have to file a court action.

1 Answer | Asked in Small Claims for California on
Q: Who can I can contact to help with getting a payment owed from a small claims court case that I won?

I won a small claims court case in the sum of $9150 several months ago and the defendant is refusing to pay me. How can I collect this payment or is there someone/some company that can help me attain this?

Gerald Barry Dorfman
Gerald Barry Dorfman answered on Apr 16, 2020

The courts do not "make" people pay judgements, but there are procedures you or your attorney can use. It helps if you are aware of the debtor's assets, like a bank account. If they own real estate you can file a lien. If they are working you can "garnish" their wages.... Read more »

3 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Real Estate Law for California on
Q: California my father passed had a living trust we want to buy the house all parties are in agreement whats next
Gerald Barry Dorfman
Gerald Barry Dorfman answered on Apr 14, 2020

How you should proceed depends a lot on the terms of the trust. Without a review of the trust and an understanding of facts such as how many beneficiaries and their relationship, no lawyer can answer your question. A major consideration would be preserving the parent to child reassessment for... Read more »

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2 Answers | Asked in Probate for California on
Q: How long does a representative have to distribute funds to the heirs after probate is finished?

Probate court finished in January. The case is in Phoenix AZ

Gerald Barry Dorfman
Gerald Barry Dorfman answered on Mar 31, 2020

Your question landing in the California section. You need to ask it again in the Arizona section.

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4 Answers | Asked in Probate for California on
Q: Can I just do a notorized letter instead of a will in leaving my house to my child and the deed is in my name?
Gerald Barry Dorfman
Gerald Barry Dorfman answered on Mar 30, 2020

No, you can not. If you do not want to use a will or trust, you can use a deed. All of these methods require strict adherence to the correct form, although they are not necessarily complicated.

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1 Answer | Asked in Civil Litigation for California on
Q: Can I back out of my agreement to sell my home because of the pandemic with no penalties?
Gerald Barry Dorfman
Gerald Barry Dorfman answered on Mar 13, 2020

No. Assuming you have a binding written agreement of sale, you can not breach the agreement simply because there is a pandemic. What "penalties" would apply, and whether your agreement is actually binding, are things an attorney would need to review with you.

2 Answers | Asked in Landlord - Tenant for California on
Q: If my rent was paid up until August and my apartment catches on fire. Am I supposed to get the I paid in advance back?

Early this month my apartment caught on when I wasn't there. Fire department said it was an accidental due to my negligence. The landlord terminated my lease. He said was gonna keep my deposit and make an insurance claim on the unit. I understand all that. My rent was paid until August. When I... Read more »

Gerald Barry Dorfman
Gerald Barry Dorfman answered on Feb 21, 2020

If the cause of the fire was your negligence, you may have serious problems. If you have renter's insurance, turn this over to them immediately. They will provide a legal defense for you, and if you have enough coverage, they will pay any amounts you end up owing. If you do not have... Read more »

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4 Answers | Asked in Car Accidents for California on
Q: I received a summons for an auto accident that occurred after I sold the vehicle. Do I have to appear in court?

The vehicle was bought and the new owner took ownership. Then he got into an accident.

Gerald Barry Dorfman
Gerald Barry Dorfman answered on Jan 20, 2020

You must not ignore the summons. Turn it over to your insurance company right away, along with a copy of the form you filled out and turned in to the Department of Motor Vehicles when you sold it. Be sure not to miss any court deadlines.

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1 Answer | Asked in Landlord - Tenant for California on
Q: Tenants owed rent for almost 2 months. Do I have right to enter the house show property to others after notice expires
Gerald Barry Dorfman
Gerald Barry Dorfman answered on Nov 23, 2019

How much rent, or for how long it is owed, is not connected to a landlord's right to enter the premises to show it. If a 3 day notice to pay rent or quit has expired, an unlawful detainer (eviction) action may be filed. A landlord may enter the property by following the procedures in... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Landlord - Tenant for California on
Q: Can a landlord bring future tenants to view property while I still live here?

The tenant sends me a text that they are coming to view the property. However she text me 30min-5hr before. Is she allowed to bring people to view the property and if so is there a certain amount of time she needs to give us before bringing people.

Gerald Barry Dorfman
Gerald Barry Dorfman answered on Nov 16, 2019

Yes, she can show the property to prospective tenants while you still live there, but you are entitled to written notice, and 24 hours is presumed a reasonable amount of time. If you want to insist on your right to proper notice, you should carefully read Civil Code section 1954:... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Wrongful Death for California on
Q: my brother filed a wrongful death suit in calif. and named my siblings and I as nominal defendants what does that mean
Gerald Barry Dorfman
Gerald Barry Dorfman answered on Nov 11, 2019

In a wrongful death suit, all people who are allowed to bring the claim must be made parties to the lawsuit, so the case can take care of all possible claims. If a party who qualifies does not want to be a plaintiff, they must be named as a nominal defendant. If you would rather be a plaintiff,... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for California on
Q: is there a way to get a copy of a will from the courts or something?
Gerald Barry Dorfman
Gerald Barry Dorfman answered on Oct 17, 2019

Yes, but only if the will was "lodged" with the court, or if a probate case was filed.

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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for California on
Q: My father passed away 10 years ago and had a trust. My sister and I were beneficiaries. I was the successor trustee.

We divided things up equally. Fast forward 10 years and we discovered he had a life insurance policy. They will not accept the trust documents as proof that I am the executor trustee of the estate. They will not discuss if there are any monies to be distributed to the estate. They say I must obtain... Read more »

Gerald Barry Dorfman
Gerald Barry Dorfman answered on Sep 23, 2019

There are at least a couple of options, although none are free. It appears that the policy was not part of the trust, so it is not surprising that they don't care who is trustee. If there is evidence he meant for it to be included in the trust, it may be possible to petition the probate... Read more »

3 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for California on
Q: How can you determine if a trust exists if both the creator and his attorney have passed away?

My father passed away about 10 months ago. He was divorced from my mother. Recently, my mother asked me if we (my husband, our three kids, answer I) had received the trusts that he had set up. My father had never mentioned, to me, that he had set up any trusts. My mom has said that she thought he... Read more »

Gerald Barry Dorfman
Gerald Barry Dorfman answered on Sep 16, 2019

Check how title is held for all real estate you know of that he owned. If it was transferred to a trust, it will be obvious, such as "X, as trustee of the Y trust".

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1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for California on
Q: If i was granted Administrator with full authority to manage the estate, can I sign a Quit claim deed to a house?
Gerald Barry Dorfman
Gerald Barry Dorfman answered on Sep 13, 2019

If by quitclaim, you mean sell, then you do not need a special order for the sale to proceed. However, you still have a fiduciary duty to the beneficiaries, and you must follow the mandatory procedures, such as giving proper "Notice of Proposed Action".

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