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Questions Answered by Gerald Barry Dorfman

1 Answer | Asked in Landlord - Tenant for California on

Q: Hello, I have a year lease on house, and there's no verbage stating if I break it early. Can I leave the lease

I live in California and I might have to break my year lease early on my house that i'm renting. There is no verbage stating in the rental lease agreement say they will do anything if I break it early. If it's not in the lease saying they will do anything if I break the lease early, can I break it... Read more »

Gerald Barry Dorfman answered on Jun 7, 2019

No. If you break the lease you will be responsible for contract damages. Typically, for a lease, this would be rent until the place is re-rented, plus any costs associated with re-renting early. If your lease contains an attorney fees clause, you could be responsible for those as well.

3 Answers | Asked in Contracts for California on

Q: My father passed away in January. I found his life insurance policy from Seaboard Life Insurance. Still active?

I would like to know if the policy has lapsed or what the status of it is.

Gerald Barry Dorfman answered on Jun 2, 2019

Assuming you are the named beneficiary, you can try making a claim. If they deny it, they will give you a reason for the denial. If you suspect the denial is incorrect, contact an attorney right away to preserve your rights.

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1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law and Civil Litigation for California on

Q: Are noise levels that exceed 90dB for 8 hours/day permissible because it is a considered a "special event"?

A stadium (70% public, 30% private ownership) has been hosting electronic music concerts that use amplified sound. These concerts can last for up 10hrs/day for 2 days at a time. Adjacent to the stadium, there are several residential high rise developments that house ~900 people within 400 feet of... Read more »

Gerald Barry Dorfman answered on May 29, 2019

Those are very high levels, and it is unlikely they actually comply with a rational noise ordinance. Even if these levels are compliant with the local ordinance, that would likely not be a definitive bar to a nuisance action. A successful nuisance suit could result in an award of damages and an... Read more »

3 Answers | Asked in Personal Injury and Animal / Dog Law for California on

Q: I'm being sued and counter sued for my Exs dog which had bite a woman.

She claims I was there I was not, the dog was determined my exs in a court of law. I need to know what kind of a lawyer I need for this I'm having trouble with the legal terms involved. I also need any advice on a lawyer that will take my case pro bono or at least on small payments... this is so... Read more »

Gerald Barry Dorfman answered on May 29, 2019

If you had homeowner's or renter's insurance at the time of the incident, turn this over to the insurance company right away. They will provide you with a lawyer and defend you. If you did not have insurance, and can not afford an attorney, try legal aid in your county, or your county bar... Read more »

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2 Answers | Asked in Landlord - Tenant for California on

Q: Rented house for 24 months @ $4,250/month, but landlord is increasing rent $127/month just 12 months in. Can he do that?

My lease clearly says "Tenant agrees to pay $4,250 per month for the term of the Agreement." And, "This Agreement shall terminate on May 31, 2020." Can I fight this? Is there anything I should be aware that he could do if I don't pay the increase?

Gerald Barry Dorfman answered on May 23, 2019

An attorney would have to look at the lease to form a definitive opinion, but generally a lease for a set time is a contract which can not be unilaterally changed by one of the parties. It's hard to predict what he could do, since it appears he is not being rational in regard to the rent increase.... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Probate for California on

Q: Im the Administrator in Calif.probate I want to know which form do i use to Order that I inherit everything & close?

Im tired of this court stuff. I want to tell the judge that she can grant all the cash to me and we can end this already. There is one petitioner, if he has a problem with my decision he can file the necessary forms/objections and we go from there.

Gerald Barry Dorfman answered on May 22, 2019

There is no form for what you want to do. If you want to petition for an order of distribution, you will have to do so, following all the court rules regarding pleadings. The way to save probate attorney fees is to do estate planning in advance. Once probate is necessary, doing it without an... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Probate for California on

Q: We filed a petition already. Judge continued it due to a few problems. Will named 2 executors, both died years ago.

Judge wants a declination to serve. How is this possible?

Gerald Barry Dorfman answered on May 14, 2019

I do think you should provide death certificates for the deceased nominees. The court might be asking for declinations from others who have priority for appointment ahead of you. Another way to do would be to have those who have priority nominate you as administrator with will annexed.

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1 Answer | Asked in Probate for California on

Q: How can i find out if my father who passed five months ago had a will?

My step mom seems to all of a sudden not qant anything to do with my brother or I, which are from my dads first marrage. He had three properties and part of my grandfathers whinery. She even went and placed his ashes and didnt tell us to come.

Gerald Barry Dorfman answered on May 9, 2019

Sorry for your loss. If he had a will, whoever had possession of the will was supposed to lodge it with the court within 30 days of learning of his death. If there is no will (or trust), and any part of the property was your father's separate (not community) property, you and your brother are... Read more »

4 Answers | Asked in Car Accidents and Personal Injury for California on

Q: i had a lawyer for my personal injury since 2016 they have done nothing to make a effort in keeping in conact with me

when i have asked them to push cause i have been done waiting about this case after a year had went by they didnt want to do anything they wanted to sit and wait. if i had tried to call them they would take a message and it would be months before i have a response. now that i am in 2019 and mind... Read more »

Gerald Barry Dorfman answered on May 2, 2019

You can look around for a lawyer to take over your case. The lawyers will share the fees, which may make it hard for you to find a lawyer to take over. Usually, personal injury attorneys do not charge for a case evaluation, so it may be worth your time and effort to make some calls.

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1 Answer | Asked in Consumer Law and Juvenile Law for California on

Q: At what age can you legally purchase marijuana in California?

Is it at 21 or 18?

Gerald Barry Dorfman answered on Apr 24, 2019

21. However, keep in mind that it is still illegal under federal law.

2 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law for California on

Q: how to change a name on the deed my grandpa diddt leave a will or a trusted on the property

Gerald Barry Dorfman answered on Apr 6, 2019

Without a will or trust, the property goes to your grandfather's "estate", which means it is divided among his lawful heirs. If you are the only heir (for example, no wife, or living children and you are the only grandchild), then it goes to you. In order to have it pass legally, if the entire... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Probate for California on

Q: I had a claim against an estate for $2,000 rejected by the Administrator. How can I contest the rejection?

The estate is in probate. My claim is for money owed to me by the deceased.

The court is Santa Rosa.

Gerald Barry Dorfman answered on Apr 3, 2019

You have to file suit. Make sure you do not miss any deadlines/statutes of limitation.

2 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law for California on

Q: can i sue my realtor and the seller to pay for my roof leaking?

i bought a house 6 months ago and the first rain my roof started leaking in multiple places, when we were buying our house our realtor got a roofer to come out to look at the roof and she told us he said everything was fine, and she would send us his inspection report but never did. i contacted her... Read more »

Gerald Barry Dorfman answered on Mar 30, 2019

Yes, based on what you have said here, you have a very strong case. Whether your matter belongs in court or arbitration may depend on your contract(s). Start contacting real estate litigators right away.

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2 Answers | Asked in Landlord - Tenant for California on

Q: Can my landlord enter my apartment without prior notice?

The other morning my landlord used his key to unlock my front door as he opened the door I tried to stop him, telling him I was not dressed. He continued to open the door ushering a woman inside while saying “she just needs to see your toilet”. I was mortified. Was this legal?

Gerald Barry Dorfman answered on Mar 24, 2019

Assuming it was not an emergency, no, a landlord may not simply enter without notice. 24 hours is presumed reasonable notice, in the absence of evidence otherwise. Read carefully Civil Code section 1954, which deals with entry by landlords, and required notice.... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Business Law, Civil Litigation, Consumer Law and Contracts for California on

Q: My $$ is stuck bcuz attorney lied to trustee who sold my houseSays i hired her to collect SurplusFunds.I did NOT hire

I received a document in mail frm trustee company that did foreclosure sale of my house.Had surplus funds for me. All i had to do is fill it out form,get it notorized and fax back or send it or walk it in. Thats it! So I went to a notary public with my ID and i fax it over to Trustee company. Later... Read more »

Gerald Barry Dorfman answered on Mar 20, 2019

If an attorney is claiming you owe them money for work you hired them for, but in fact they have never even been contacted by you and have done no work for you, that is a very serious matter. You certainly should consider a complaint to the State Bar of California. That process is not very quick,... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law and Landlord - Tenant for California on

Q: . I've been renting a house going on three yrs. I have a 5 yr a lease. New owners gave me 30 days to move

I'm current on my rent. Don't they have to pay me relocation expenses money. And give me longer then 30 days.

Gerald Barry Dorfman answered on Mar 8, 2019

In the usual situation, if you have two years remaining on your lease, you can stay at least two more years. When a new owner takes over, they take the place "subject to" any leases in effect at the time. If you live in an eviction control jurisdiction, you have additional protections. Be sure... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Probate for California on

Q: How do we record a handwritten Will in Los Angeles county? Thanks.

Gerald Barry Dorfman answered on Mar 7, 2019

Wills are not recorded. If the person has died, and you are not filing a probate proceeding, you should "lodge" it, within 30 days of learning of the death. If you want to "lodge" it, you do so with the Superior Court, in the county where the person who died last resided.

1 Answer | Asked in Landlord - Tenant for California on

Q: My lease says the leasing office will receive packages on our behalf but the new owners stopped without giving us notice

The leasing office has sent our packages back and did not give us an addendum to our lease or let us know. Is this legal?

Gerald Barry Dorfman answered on Mar 7, 2019

No. New owners take the property "subject to" any leases that are in effect at the time of acquiring the property. If you have a lease, the terms remain in effect until the lease expires. If you are month to month, 30 days notice is required to change the tenancy terms. This assumes there are... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for California on

Q: My 28 year old son passed away in California recently. I was contacted by a lawyer hired by my ex husband.

The law office said they are going to settle our sons estate since he had no will. Do I need my own attorney?

I just wanted to add a little more information. I didn't think I would need a lawyer and wasn't even thinking about until the law office contacted me. I thought my son only had a... Read more »

Gerald Barry Dorfman answered on Mar 6, 2019

Sorry for your loss. If it is a simple estate administration, you will probably not need an attorney to actively participate. It will probably be worth your while to have a consultation to review the situation. If there is litigation involved, such as a wrongful death suit, then you would want... Read more »

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2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Real Estate Law for California on

Q: I have a situation and I know I need legal help but I am not even sure what type of Lawyer I would need.

My situation is regarding a property which is listed in my mothers name ( she just recently passed away) I have lived in this property for 22 years its my children's childhood home. Now that my mom has passed she had a trust which myself and my two siblings are executers of. The trust part is easy... Read more »

Gerald Barry Dorfman answered on Feb 28, 2019

A real estate or probate/trusts attorney with litigation experience is a good fit for your issues. They will need to take a thorough look at the facts and your documentation. You may not be too happy with their analysis, unfortunately.

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