Lawyers, Answer Questions  & Get Points Log In
Questions Answered by Gerald Barry Dorfman
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 »

View More Answers

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.

View More Answers

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.

View More Answers

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 »

View More Answers

1 Answer | Asked in Child Support, Real Estate Law and Tax Law for California on
Q: Sale of Property - Title parties disagree

Sorry, I'm sure this is not an original question, but here it is.

My name is listed as one of two on the deed of a property. There are no banks nor outside liens against the property. Party Two physically lives on the property, while Party One (me) would like to live there. However,... Read more »

Gerald Barry Dorfman
Gerald Barry Dorfman answered on Jan 17, 2021

You can file a court action for "partition". The court will order the sale of the property (assuming physical division is not appropriate). Often, once such an action is filed (sometimes just after getting an attorney letter that filing is imminent) parties will work out a settlement... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for California on
Q: Need info on wording for deed. 3 people owned house together and assumed it was survivor rights. However deed lists each

Deed just lists each name with percentage equally held. One passed away and we are attempting to refinance. Days away from closing title co now says we must go through probate. Attempting to determine what our deed wording means

Gerald Barry Dorfman
Gerald Barry Dorfman answered on Jan 10, 2021

You are going to have to pay a lawyer to actually read the language of the deed, but from what you have posted, it is likely that probate will be required. Nothing you posted indicates the property was held in joint tenancy with the deceased.

2 Answers | Asked in Medical Malpractice and Wrongful Death for California on
Q: Hello there , Is there any path of legal options on a sepsis death of a 64 year old from a heart valve replacement ?
Gerald Barry Dorfman
Gerald Barry Dorfman answered on Jan 5, 2021

Yes. It begins with expert opinions that the "standard of care" was violated, and that that violation legally "caused" the death.

View More Answers

3 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for California on
Q: Is power of attorney all that's needed to get access to deceased mothers bank account

My mother recently passed away. I have a will and a power of attorney signed by my mother. I am her sole survivor. The bank will not allow me to access her bank account saying that I need to go to the county and get a small estate affidavit and/or appointment papers as the... Read more »

Gerald Barry Dorfman
Gerald Barry Dorfman answered on Jan 2, 2021

Sorry for your loss. A power of attorney expires when the person who gave it dies. So, you can not use the power of attorney to access the bank account. You can use a small estate affidavit if the estate is small enough, but it is not something the County will provide for you. Otherwise, you... Read more »

View More Answers

1 Answer | Asked in Civil Litigation, Elder Law and Probate for California on
Q: my siblings took my dad and grandma to the lawyer office to change their will to a living trust

I'm a abused beneficiary my siblings won't show me my dad and grandma accounting I believe they're are stealing from my dad and grandma they change their mailing address to a p.o box I've believe my grandma and dad been abused physically and mentally.

Gerald Barry Dorfman
Gerald Barry Dorfman answered on Dec 27, 2020

You can report your observations and suspicions to Adult Protective Services in the counties in which your grandma and dad reside. They will conduct an investigation.

3 Answers | Asked in Probate for California on
Q: I am trying to find a Probate attorney. Unfortunately my boyfriend left a holographic will that names me as executor.

Because he listed so many beneficiaries I am running into a problem finding someone who will take it. What happens then?

Gerald Barry Dorfman
Gerald Barry Dorfman answered on Dec 23, 2020

Sorry for your loss. If you are in possession of the will, you need to "lodge" it with the court in the county in which your boyfriend last resided. If the estate is large enough, it should not be a problem finding a probate attorney, even with a large number of beneficiaries. If you... Read more »

View More Answers

3 Answers | Asked in Car Accidents for California on
Q: Do car insurance companies cover damage to personal property that was inside a vehicle at the time of an accident.

My van had 5 road bikes in it when it was smashed by a drunk driver. The driver's insurance company isn't paying for damage to the bikes.

Gerald Barry Dorfman
Gerald Barry Dorfman answered on Dec 22, 2020

A driver's insurance should cover all the damage done by the collision, up to the policy limit amount. The company's refusal to pay may be related to a policy limit problem or a question of your proof of loss. You may need to sue, obtain a judgement, and then collect the proceeds.

View More Answers

2 Answers | Asked in Contracts and Real Estate Law for California on
Q: Can my landlord's property management company do quarterly or semi-annual inspections to "check-up" on the property?

I signed a rental agreement in September of 2020 and I noticed a clause that said the property management company will perform non-specific inspections, pretty much to check on the property and the tenants. We haven't been here 90 days and they are already trying to do said inspection. Do they... Read more »

Gerald Barry Dorfman
Gerald Barry Dorfman answered on Dec 8, 2020

Civil Code section 1954 covers the landlord's right to enter a dwelling unit. It does NOT provide for general "inspections". Any provision in a lease or rental agreement purporting to have a tenant waive their rights under section 1954 is void [Civil Code section 1953(a)]. You... Read more »

View More Answers

1 Answer | Asked in Probate for California on
Q: My mother pass away 4/11/2020. It is now 11/30/2020 and no deed to my home

Daughter is executor. I don't have a lawyer. Daughter has asked me 4 times to put the deed in her name so she can buy property in Tennessee. Transfer of deed daughter states has to go into her name then to me the beneficiary and not directly to me.

Gerald Barry Dorfman
Gerald Barry Dorfman answered on Dec 1, 2020

This does not sound right. If the estate is in probate, and your daughter has been appointed executor, then the court process will have to be followed, and the property will pass according to the will. If the property is in trust, and your daughter is the successor trustee, the transfer should... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law and Land Use & Zoning for California on
Q: Is a legal nonconforming auto service station required to comply with business regulations such as hours, tow yard ?

the neighborhood that I live in has been having ongoing issues with an auto service station. Neighbors have contacted the Code Enforcement unit because of various activities that we believe should not be allowed at that property, including:

painting vehicles outdoors and releasing chemical... Read more »

Gerald Barry Dorfman
Gerald Barry Dorfman answered on Oct 22, 2020

Even though it may not be a code enforcement issue, it may still constitute a "nuisance". Private parties, with very limited exceptions, can not bring a legal action for a "public" nuisance, but they may bring an action for a private nuisance. If you can't get the City... Read more »

View More Answers

Justia Ask a Lawyer is a forum for consumers to get answers to basic legal questions. Any information sent through Justia Ask a Lawyer is not secure and is done so on a non-confidential basis only.

The use of this website to ask questions or receive answers does not create an attorney–client relationship between you and Justia, or between you and any attorney who receives your information or responds to your questions, nor is it intended to create such a relationship. Additionally, no responses on this forum constitute legal advice, which must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each case. You should not act upon information provided in Justia Ask a Lawyer without seeking professional counsel from an attorney admitted or authorized to practice in your jurisdiction. Justia assumes no responsibility to any person who relies on information contained on or received through this site and disclaims all liability in respect to such information.

Justia cannot guarantee that the information on this website (including any legal information provided by an attorney through this service) is accurate, complete, or up-to-date. While we intend to make every attempt to keep the information on this site current, the owners of and contributors to this site make no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of the information contained in or linked to from this site.