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Questions Answered by Richard Sternberg
1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law and Probate for Maryland on
Q: How long would the process take of making a complaint for the sale in Lieu of Partition in Prince George's county, MD?

An elderly disabled person is being forced out of his home that he lived in all of his life by the personal representative. The home had been closed with probate many years ago, and it's still closed, but the personal representative has now decided to sell the home after all this time. The... Read more »

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Nov 16, 2020

Your posting does not provide sufficient information for a reliable response, and I suggest that you review all of the facts with counsel during a consult. If the house is titled to the decedent, and there is an open estate with a qualified PR, there is no need for a complaint for sale in lieu of... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Maryland on
Q: In Maryland, if the PR closed an estate 17 years ago without selling it can she reopen it easily at this time to do so?

I would like to please know how unique this situation is where the personal representative went through probate 17 years ago, closed it and now wants to sell the house in 2020 and it is still in closed status. She has filed an updated letter of Administration. She has not taken the deceased... Read more »

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Nov 15, 2020

It's going to take a bit of time, particularly if the property is in PG County. The quarantine has hit the Recorder of Deeds fairly hard, and the backlog seems to be a couple months on recording. The Register of Wills Offices across the state are closed and documents are being filed by remote.... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law, Civil Rights, Land Use & Zoning and Landlord - Tenant for Maryland on
Q: Adverse Possession Can You Adverse Possession Two Campuses And And The Whole Two Campuses With Different Buildings.

And And Can The Land Be Just Adverse Possession Regardless Of The Buildings Of The Two Campuses.

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Nov 13, 2020

By “campuses,” I’m going to assume you are referring to the common use of the word referring to the collected buildings of a university, college, or other openly used area of property in which a large community collects for an educational or other purpose. If that is so, then you are there... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for Maryland on
Q: In Maryland, what is a recommended transaction structure for acquiring fee simple ownership of commercial property?

Buyer wants to acquire property to use as an office in Oldtown, MD (Allegany County). The buyer wants to own the property in fee simple. I know that installment contracts give legal title to the seller (vendor) and equitable title to the buyer (vendee). But besides installment contracts, I could... Read more »

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Nov 13, 2020

I'm not sure what you are asking. An installment sales contract -- or one of another half dozen or so types of documents -- is the contract describing the transfer. It does not transfer title. That is accomplished in a closing. The name of the title recipient is often specified in the... Read more »

3 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law, Civil Rights, Land Use & Zoning and Landlord - Tenant for Maryland on
Q: Is Adverse Possession And And Squatting Two Different Things And Is Lottering Trespassing Breaken In Entey ( BNE )

The Same As Or As In Squatting Or Adverse Possession

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Nov 12, 2020

Adverse possession is AFTER the required number of years of possession of a property openly adversely continuously and hostilely. Before that, it is squatting, and, if they call the cops, it's trespassing, and, if you get charged criminally after entering by "breaking the close,"... Read more »

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3 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning, Real Estate Law and Tax Law for Maryland on
Q: Can disclaiming inheritance from a Trust be used as a method of tax avoidance between beneficiaries of that trust?

Person A and B are tenants in common in a property that is valued at $1,000,000 and has a basis of $200,000.

Their mother dies leaving them $2,000,000 in a trust to be distributed equally.

Person A disclaims $500,000 of his inheritance from the trust.

Person B signs a... Read more »

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Nov 11, 2020

I caveat my answer with the fact that I am not a tax lawyer even if I got an A in Tax Law at Georgetown. That's why I employ a Georgetown LlM in tax to help my clients. But, off-hand, I think the real estate transfer is taxable based on the assessed value of the property. I think the exclusion... Read more »

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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 »

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Nov 10, 2020

Yes. Taking over payments on a mortgage and/or taking over payments on taxes has no effect on title. You need to sit down for an hour with a lawyer to review all of the relevant facts and then negotiate a resolution that benefits the family best. An informal or aspirational plan as you've... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for Virginia on
Q: Home has been sit vacant for 5 yrs. Mort comp lists on last deed of trust does not own prop. Is new comp req 2 file dee
Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Nov 7, 2020

English is also a useful language. I'm going to guess that "mort" is short for "mortgage" rather than the old French word for "dead;" "dee" is just a typo for "deed;" "sit" is a grammatical error for "sitting;"... Read more »

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?
Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Nov 7, 2020

Notes and the Deeds of Trust securing them can be transferred and assigned without further recordation. That is one of the keystones to the mortgage lending system that resulted in much lower nationwide rates and more than a few huge hiccups.

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1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for Virginia on
Q: I have property in Virginia in which I asked for, and received, a building permit to have a 30x50 metal workshop on a co

I have a property in Virginia in which I asked for, and received, a building permits to have a 30x50 metal workshop on a concrete slab on my residential property for residential use. Long story short, no one ever asked for a shrink/swell test of the soil before building, and as I now know was a... Read more »

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Nov 3, 2020

I've never heard of such a law suit. My guess is that the building inspector is immune, but it would require some research. I don't think the issuance of a building permit is a form of insurance for the safety of the building from claims by the applicant. The liability might lie with the... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for Virginia on
Q: My mom and stepdad owned 2 houses. My mom died and stepdad 9 months later (no wills). My mom has 5 children, stepdad 2.

They had no children together. The properties were in my mother's and stepdad's names. My stepbrothers name are on the houses. The houses are now up for auction due to delinquent taxes. Do my siblings and I have any rights to the properties? We are all basically in the city. No one... Read more »

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Nov 1, 2020

You need to get thee to a lawyer pronto to run a title search. It matters very much how the houses were titled. That might not matter after the auction. If, however, you have rights, and, potentially, even if you don't, this is one of those times when you might be able to "buy it for the... Read more »

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

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Oct 24, 2020

We'd need much more precision to be able to advise you. If title was in the name of both of your parents and was purchased during the marriage and they never divorced or altered title before your other died, then your father has title. Your or your mother's payments are probably... Read more »

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3 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law for Maryland on
Q: If a property is abandoned/vacant how can I go about obtaining that property? What steps would I need to take.
Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Oct 22, 2020

You move in, fence it, improve it, make sure the owner of record knows you are there and that you are there without their consent, and stay there continuously and hostilely for fifteen years. And, if you are sued in the meantime for trespass, you get off the land, leave your improvements behind,... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for Maryland on
Q: Thank you so very much for the quick respond. my

My ex husbands liens is about $7,000 so the property sales can cover for his liens. My settlement is going to be on the 30th of this month. Do you think I have enough time to make it to the settlement?

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Oct 20, 2020

This is not a suitable means of exchanging emails. My email address is Richard@MWLC.org.

2 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law for Maryland on
Q: How long does it takes to open an estate and much does it cost?

My ex husband is still half owner of my condo but he's been dead over 7 years ago and we're divorced 10 years ago. I was about to sell my condo but there is a liens that attached to the property that I'm not aware. It's not my liens but for my ex husband. please advice

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Oct 20, 2020

I'm assuming that you held the property with your ex as tenants in common, so that his heirs are entitled to half of the house after payment of his liens. I'm further assuming that you are not a beneficiary of his Will. Administration could get quite complicated and difficult to predict,... Read more »

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2 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law and Probate for Maryland on
Q: My father died in the state of Maryland without a will. What steps do I take to sell his house?

His fiancé still lives in the house, but I am his next of kin

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Oct 19, 2020

I think I answered another question from you a minute ago. If your father died leaving a house and a motorcycle, and you are his only heir at law in an intestate estate, you need to open an estate, get Letters, list the house, and sell it. It is likely that there are enough assets in the estate to... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Probate for Maryland on
Q: Can my deceased dads girlfriend take his motorcycle to the dealership with only a death certificate?

She’s not his next of kin, his daughter is his next of kin. He still owes 5,000 on the motorcycle, we were going to pay it off but she went behind our back to take it to the dealership.

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Oct 19, 2020

Unless the girlfriend is in your father's will or is actually a spouse, or, unless she held title to the motorcycle in joint tenancy with right of survivorship with your father, it isn't her motorcycle. Tell the dealership to give it back. If the note was from the dealership and the... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Civil Rights and Probate for Virginia on
Q: Now that I have a answer about the lawsuit against my brother inlaw who has passed.

Now they want my husband to settle up with them because he was sole heir. We dont know what to do!

My brother inlaw denied to his dieing breath it was untrue what my nephew accused him of but the lawyer said we owe him money for the pending lawsuit he had on going when my brother inlaw... Read more »

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Oct 14, 2020

The type of lawyer you need is a probate lawyer who also does litigation. If you are representing the estate and the estate is in Virginia, you may use the estate's assets to pay the litigator as needed. You can find an attentive and talented lawyer by searching the Find a Lawyer function at... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Probate for Maryland on
Q: I had POA prior to my mom's death on 9/24/20. I signed a contract for the sale of her home on 9/10 prior to her death.

I have been named as the Personal Rep effective October 7, 2020. Can I sign the closing documents and sell the property?

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Oct 13, 2020

The PoA expired upon your mother's passing, but the contact was still valid. As appointed personal representative, you can close the sale on behalf of the estate. It will be a slightly unusual case, so you should check with the title agent picked by the buyer if they need anything else to close.

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 »

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Oct 12, 2020

A common co-tenant of the whole cannot "evict" another common co-tenant of the whole from the premises. The reason she has made mum her own form is that there is no lawyer who would draft one for her. What you need is a lawyer to file a petition for sale in lieu of partition so you can... Read more »

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