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Questions Answered by Gerald Barry Dorfman
1 Answer | Asked in Landlord - Tenant for California on
Q: Commercial tenant abandonment/early lease term. Are they legally responsible for remainder owed on lease (10 mos)?

Our tenant wrote us a letter stating they can no longer operate their business on our property and mailed it to us along with their key. Their lease agreement doesn't end till July 2022. On the lease it states all parties will not seek court action and will seek mediation /arbitration to... Read more »

Gerald Barry Dorfman
Gerald Barry Dorfman answered on Sep 23, 2021

Generally, a tenant is responsible for the full lease term, BUT the landlord must reasonably attempt to "mitigate" the damages. That means the landlord should try to rent out the space once the tenant has left. IF (the language in the lease is very important) the parties have agreed to... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for California on
Q: Utility company has equipment on my land w/o proper easement. Can I get rent for space or make them move said equipment

The water utility has 3 large water tanks on my land. They own 1/2 acre above me on the hill but their land is very steep so I assume the last owner of my property allowed them to use his land. I know the utility has an easement on my land to access their equipment for repairs but no where did I... Read more »

Gerald Barry Dorfman
Gerald Barry Dorfman answered on Aug 27, 2021

Theoretically you can. Unfortunately for you, there are other possible explanations for the location of the tanks. Some first steps: If you have not already done so, read the title report very carefully. Review the written disclosures given to you in connection with the sale by the seller.... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning for California on
Q: My husband will not set up a trust, our assets are about 1.75 million. What happens if he should suddenly die?
Gerald Barry Dorfman
Gerald Barry Dorfman answered on Jul 24, 2021

Generally, and understanding the details matter: Assuming all your property is community property, and he has no will, his estate (his half of your community property) will go through probate. Probate is a court process. You will receive the property, minus costs of administration. If there is... Read more »

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3 Answers | Asked in Car Accidents for California on
Q: If I a the lien holder on car I am selling to my granddaughter, can I still be or liable if she got in a wreck

I currently live in CA. I just want to make sure she doesn't sell it. shes young and sometimes impulsive

Gerald Barry Dorfman
Gerald Barry Dorfman answered on Jul 9, 2021

If you are still the legal owner, then yes you can be held liable for owner's liability. If the car is transferred completely in her name, and you are just a lien holder, you would not be liable for her actions. The usual way to do this type of transaction is for you to get a promissory note... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law and Landlord - Tenant for California on
Q: In California, can a tenant on a month-to-month lease request a move out date mid-month and must I prorate rent?

I gave the tenant 60 days notice to move out of my property, with a move out date of May 31. The tenant countered with a move out date of May 20 and asked to prorate rent in May. Am I legally obligated to prorate the last months rent? The property is in Torrance, Los Angeles County, California.

Gerald Barry Dorfman
Gerald Barry Dorfman answered on May 6, 2021

If the rental agreement does not specifically address the situation, and the tenant has properly given the 30 days notice, then yes, the tenant may move on any day of the month, and only owes prorated rent for the last month.

4 Answers | Asked in Personal Injury, Health Care Law and Medical Malpractice for California on
Q: How do I prove a pharmacist did not fill my prescription correctly and as a result I have permanent repercussions

Yes I have been permanently affected due to his negligence but I have no money for a lawyer

Gerald Barry Dorfman
Gerald Barry Dorfman answered on Apr 27, 2021

In addition to Mr. Light's answer, you will need expert medical opinions. If you really are seriously affected, you really need to get a knowledgeable attorney.

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1 Answer | Asked in Landlord - Tenant for California on
Q: My apartment building got sold 4mo into my year lease, now the new company is raising my rent. Is it legal?

I live in California. I signed the year lease in August, the new company took possession January 1st 2021, they sent a notice out March 1st saying that rent would be raised effective May 1st.

Gerald Barry Dorfman
Gerald Barry Dorfman answered on Apr 6, 2021

No. A new owner buys property "subject to" any leases in effect at the time of purchase. That means they can not raise your rent for the time your current lease is in effect.

1 Answer | Asked in Arbitration / Mediation Law and Medical Malpractice for California on
Q: Why do lawyers not take medical arbitration, unless there is complete paralysis or loss of limb.

Is there a amount that is minimum for lawyers to break even on a case.

Gerald Barry Dorfman
Gerald Barry Dorfman answered on Mar 19, 2021

The short answer is that the medical industry convinced the Legislature to pass laws stacking the deck in the industry's favor and against patients and their attorneys. Even without special laws, these types of cases require a great deal of time and financial investment. Virtually 100%... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Probate for California on
Q: Can I be the petitioner in my Grandmother to Mother's succession

Everyone has passed on in life but there is not a succession in place. All of my Grandparents kids which are my parents or uncles/aunts, can I be the petitioner in the succession.

Gerald Barry Dorfman
Gerald Barry Dorfman answered on Mar 18, 2021

Yes.

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1 Answer | Asked in Probate for California on
Q: mom died in CA, ONLY asset is bank account in MA. MA bank will NOT accept CA small estate affidavit. any suggestions?

Have letter from bank specifically declining CA Affidavit for collection of personal property, probate code section 13100-13116. Stating they require: "a certified copy of the court document appointing you as person representative, executor, or other like fiduciary of the estate of the... Read more »

Gerald Barry Dorfman
Gerald Barry Dorfman answered on Mar 9, 2021

If the bank account has no beneficiary listed, and no co-owner, then it is part of the estate, so the estate value is not zero. Being in a bank out of state does not remove it from the estate. Not sure why you don't know the value. Do you not have access to her mail/bank statements? If you... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Contracts and Civil Litigation for California on
Q: Need help to prepare civil discovery motions to compel on a Limited Scope basis.

I'm the plaintiff. The law firm for the defendants are jerking me around with BS objections and responses to discovery. I'm looking for a lawyer who can assist me on a Limited Scope basis to prepare high quality motions to compel discovery which are dead bang winners.

Please... Read more »

Gerald Barry Dorfman
Gerald Barry Dorfman answered on Feb 25, 2021

All real litigators know there is no such thing as a "dead bang winner" discovery motion. Generally, judges do not like these types of motions. The key to effective discovery is precise and clear drafting of the discovery, clear necessity for the particular discovery, and well-documented... Read more »

3 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning, Real Estate Law and Probate for California on
Q: In CA, what what happens to the probate fees if you, the sole beneficiary of the decedent's will, decide to waive them?

For example, In the case of a simplified probate where the decedent only had their share of the house that they shared with two other people (including the adult child) and that share were to be passed down to the adult child via Will. Since the adult child is entitled to receive that remaining... Read more »

Gerald Barry Dorfman
Gerald Barry Dorfman answered on Feb 18, 2021

An administrator or executor can waive their fees. If they do so, the estate doesn't have to pay them. The fees for court filing, publication, appraisal, etc. will still have to come from the estate. So will any attorney fees. So, if you are the sole beneficiary and are appointed executor,... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Civil Litigation for California on
Q: How do I get my dog back from someone who denies having him?

My dog went missing 7 months ago and I've been looking for him ever since. Recently I received an anonymous note left in my mailbox which claimed that my dog was living in a house at a particular address in a city 80 miles away. I drove to the house with my mom and when I rang the doorbell, My... Read more »

Gerald Barry Dorfman
Gerald Barry Dorfman answered on Feb 5, 2021

You can try hiring a private investigator. Although not cheap, that could provide enough for the cops to act or for you to successfully sue this person. You could really use some video of them with your dog, where you are able to identify it as your dog.

1 Answer | Asked in Consumer Law and Contracts for California on
Q: I had an agreement with a large used car dealership to purchase a car. Now they won't sell? Verbal contract enforceable?

My wife and I went to buy a used car from a major used car dealership in southern California. We told the salesman we wanted to buy the car. We asked if we could have the car (2014 Subaru Outback) inspected by a local Subaru dealer before making the purchase. They said yes. We asked if we should... Read more »

Gerald Barry Dorfman
Gerald Barry Dorfman answered on Feb 3, 2021

A verbal sales contract for a car is theoretically enforceable. However, the actual understandings of the party are key. So, the precise words used are going to matter. From just what you have said here, it is not possible to conclude that there was a "meeting of the minds" to form a... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for California on
Q: Home builder is delaying key handover date which create issues. Can we sue the builder for not meeting the deadline?

We were suppose get out house today but the builder called and said it moved till Monday. This is created lot of unnecessary chain of events. Like we had to move the delivery dates, take additional day of etc. beside that we the home has an attached rental unit and they are suppose to move in... Read more »

Gerald Barry Dorfman
Gerald Barry Dorfman answered on Jan 29, 2021

Very unlikely that it is worth pursuing, because the general standard applied to construction contracts is "substantial performance". However, take a look at your contract. If it says "time is of the essence", or provides for damages for delay, or makes a very specific... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law for California on
Q: How to get clear title to home when private mortgage holder died? Mortgage was not placed into her trust.

She’d told us not to worry about paying it and when my husband passed 6 years ago I tried to call her. Found she’d been taken out of state and died in a nursing home prior to my husband’s death.

Gerald Barry Dorfman
Gerald Barry Dorfman answered on Jan 28, 2021

Sounds like you will need to file a Quiet Title action.

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1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law, Estate Planning and Probate for California on
Q: My grandmother had a will but couldn't sign it due to her illness.

My grandmother had a will but couldn't sign it due to her illness in 2004 (she passed away the same year), despite that, things in the will were still distributed to those intended by my grandmother. It was intended for my grandmother's house to be left to me and my sister,specific... Read more »

Gerald Barry Dorfman
Gerald Barry Dorfman answered on Jan 28, 2021

Your question is much too complicated and fact-specific to be answered in an online forum such as this. Generally, an unsigned will is not a valid will. Agreements regarding real estate must be in writing. Title to real estate must pass according to the established rules, or else court action is... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Landlord - Tenant for California on
Q: How much notice is required from a landlord before selling tenant occupied property?

I’m renting on a month to month lease. Though my landlord assured me he was not selling he has now changed his tune. I maintain that he needs to give me written notice 60 days in advance before asking me to make the place available for showing. What are my rights?

Gerald Barry Dorfman
Gerald Barry Dorfman answered on Jan 26, 2021

Your location shows as Portland, OR, but your question is posted in the California law section. If you are in California, your rights to notice and entry by the landlord and agents to show the place for sale are found in Civil Code section 1954. Under that section, there is no 60 advance notice... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Landlord - Tenant for California on
Q: (CA) Landlord tried to bill me $800 after 21 days saying all the charges are legitimate without providing proof?

My former landlord is being totally unreasonable and insist I have to pay for a bill ($500 for damages/ $300 for cleaning). There was no damage and the apartment was left clean. I informed him about the 21 days law and had missed the deadline to bill and he simply replied that none of the usual... Read more »

Gerald Barry Dorfman
Gerald Barry Dorfman answered on Jan 24, 2021

Not sure what you mean by "none of the laws", but the landlord is correct that the 21 days only applies to deductions or returns of security deposits. If you had no security deposit, the landlord is not required to claim damages from you within 21 days.

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3 Answers | Asked in Probate for California on
Q: What to do when Dad dies with no will in California. Homes listed as separate property.

My father left no will. One home was in a trust from my grandparents. His re married wife sold that home and got all the money. The two other homes are listed in my dads name and separate property. Do I need to hire an attorney to make sure I get my fair share in his estate? What do I need to do to... Read more »

Gerald Barry Dorfman
Gerald Barry Dorfman answered on Jan 22, 2021

Yes, hire a probate attorney. You need to file a probate action in order to get your share of the estate. The administrator and attorney both get paid a percentage of the value of the estate, at the end of the process. If you are the sole heir you can save some money by being the administrator... Read more »

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