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Questions Answered by Richard Sternberg
2 Answers | Asked in Probate for Maryland on
Q: My mother passed away early this year. Her primary asset is her home which has a reverse mortgage.

My mother’s will specifies my sibling gets the house if he secures a loan to satisfy the reverse mortgage loan within 90 days of her passing. The will goes on to say that if my sibling sells, or is unable to maintain the house for a three year period the house is to be sold and the proceeds split... Read more »

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on May 26, 2020

The answer is in the document you cite, and the words in that document matter. You say it says "within 90 days of [her] passing" in the Will. Does it? What you need is counsel to review the Will and file a claim at the appropriate time.

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2 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law for Maryland on
Q: How do I prove that the people who bought my house got over on me?

So I sold my house as is and we had to do everything thru video call cause the virus has closed everything down so I had the one hud paper then after I sign the paper they sent me another hud paper thru email and instead of getting the $19 thousand and some change they changed it to me getting... Read more »

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on May 25, 2020

Perhaps you could review the actual fact with real lawyer to determine whether you have a cause of action rather than your approach of asking an underwhelming question on the Internet.

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2 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law for Virginia on
Q: Can a son or daughter on the deed of their parents home, simply sell the house for profit if they have siblings?
Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on May 23, 2020

You aren’t providing enough information. If you hold the entire fee simple of any house, whether your parents are living there or not, you may sell it for fun or profit. If you don’t, you can’t. Consult counsel to review the title.

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2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Virginia on
Q: Who pays utilities bills?I'm delayed for qualification of Executor due to Covid.Courts not open. I'm beneficiary of home

I am the executor. But I have to wait to be qualified. Courts have been closed since March. Everything is delayed due to Supreme Court ruling in Virginia. My parent passed in early May. Bills need to be payed. I am willing to pay from my own money to keep power, water etc going as I already lived... Read more »

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on May 21, 2020

I'm not sure that you have any duties until the Court appoints you as Executor or Administrator, but it would seem to be in your interest to pay the bills to keep the utilities turned on. In many places, utility companies have either voluntarily or by state orders indicated that they will not... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law and Identity Theft for Virginia on
Q: my wife and I have not lived together in 5 years.But I recently found out she put my name on her lease illegal.

also I notice my mail stop coming to current address.Postal service says my mail keep going to her address.I never made a change of address.postal service inspector is investigating why my address keep getting changed,without my consent.

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on May 18, 2020

Maybe it is time to get divorced already?

3 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law for Virginia on
Q: I'm in Virginia. Entered into contract to sell my house. Buyers have now indicated that they no longer feel happy

about the purchase. They want out of the contract. They are pressuring me to sign a document basically stating a mutual agreement to break the contract and forfeiting their deposit. What alternatives do I have?

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on May 17, 2020

You have to start by reading your contract, and they are not all the same. In what is probably the most common version of purchase and sale agreement, in the event of a default ... which, without hearing more facts and the other side's version ... is what your buyer is proposing that he do,... Read more »

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3 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law, Agricultural Law, Land Use & Zoning and Landlord - Tenant for Virginia on
Q: Is there a legal document that will not give ownership or others can stake claim to property they are working/living on?

It is 30 acres of land in VA where 2 of the 5 owners with the other owners permission is setting up what is called The Eden Experience-The Eden Experience is about creating a new sense of community and family based on permaculture farmsteading that thrives and coexists along harmoniously with the... Read more »

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on May 13, 2020

This reads like a fairly simple sharecropper agreement with no rental value unless the tenant breaches. To achieve you complete objectives, you probably want to customize the lease, but doing this without a signed agreement will be a very bad idea, especially if your project succeeds and the... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for Virginia on
Q: My grandmother's will left property to her 2 children. There was a large mortgage on the property. My son paid it off.

My son is now joint owner with uncle. Since my son paid off the debt to keep it from being lost 90,000 dollars does he have any legal rights outside of just being owner.

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on May 12, 2020

Before the statute of limitations expires, he should issue a proper demand and then, if needed, file a lawsuit for contribution from the other co-owner. It's an easy lawsuit, and it expires when the statute of limitations expires. The payment of the debt does not change the percentage... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law and Probate for Virginia on
Q: My wife is the trustee of her mother's estate. Can beneficiaries file against assets she and I hold jointly?
Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on May 11, 2020

File what? Where? For what? After she has mishandled the trust in what way?

Obviously, your ability to describe your actual issue is severely impaired. But, the Internet is not a place to fix that. The things you are not telling us are not privileged and can come back to haunt you. Get a...
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2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning, Land Use & Zoning and Real Estate Law for Virginia on
Q: As one remainderman of my moms life estate (my brother is the other) can I build a house on the property if all agree?

My grandparents left the house and 50 acres to my mom as owner of the life estate. My brother and I will inherit the house and 50 acres after her death to be split evenly (we have already agreed my brother gets the house + 20 acres and I get the remaining 30 acres). Am I able to build a house now... Read more »

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on May 2, 2020

You need a title search before you invest significant money in construction. Assuming your mother has a life estate to the entire property, you will need her consent so long as she is alive. You will, of course, need all the other approvals you need in your jurisdiction for new construction,... Read more »

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3 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law, Tax Law and Business Law for Maryland on
Q: I own a sngl-mbr LLC (reg'd in FL). I own a home in MD. I want to rent it entirely to my LLC to operate business. Legal?

Is it legal for me to rent out my Maryland state home to my LLC (Registered in FL)? My LLC's principle address is the same as my Maryland home, but now I want to rent the home entirely to the LLC and move out. I would live somewhere else, but use the home for business purposes only. Given the... Read more »

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on May 1, 2020

I agree with Mr. Blackburn that it is perfectly legal, but I don't think it accomplishes what you are trying to accomplish. If the LLC you form is a passthrough entity with partnership taxation, then the formation is a wash. The rental income passes through to you after writing off the... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for Virginia on
Q: Good morning, I was wondering if I would have any claim to property in West Virginia if my dad's wife passed away?

Weird situation as I am 39 and just found out that a man that I have known as my godfather whom I've spoken with my whole life was actually my biological father. I'm named after him as well. I found out from my DNA linking in ancestry.com to people with his last name. He passed away 2... Read more »

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on May 1, 2020

Have her draft a Will. Pay for her legal fee. Drive her there. Sit outside. Smile.

I don’t understand why you are embarrassed to tell your step-mother that her husband was your father when she already confirmed it, but a Will in your favor will be much stronger than an out-of-time claim...
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1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for Virginia on
Q: My neighbor and I put in (contracted) a walkway between our houses, mostly on her property. Can she now refuse me acces

She recently modified the walkway, using same materials.

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Apr 29, 2020

I suspect this is one of those "pay me now, or pay me more later" moments. When you contracted for the walkway, you could easily and cheaply create an access easement. If you didn't do that expressly, you might have created an estoppel in fact by your actions or your emails. But,... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Contracts, Criminal Law and Real Estate Law for Virginia on
Q: Breaking Lease Early due to assault

Not too long ago, my roommate, girlfriend, and I were attacked on our front porch by a neighbor in which we do not know the name of or where they are in the neighborhood. We then filed assault and informed the landlord. Since then, this neighbor has stalked me constantly as I’ve noticed him when... Read more »

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Apr 29, 2020

Step one is a lease review, and a lay person review isn't the same as a lawyer review. But, if you are certain that you have no alternatives there, the next step is to negotiate a termination with the landlord. The fact that a third party unrelated to the landlord has threatened you is... Read more »

3 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law and Land Use & Zoning for Maryland on
Q: There is a 10 ft driveway between me and my neighbor but my neighbor he is saying this is his area

In my property on the right side there is a 10 ft driveway and also pipe line at the beginning of this 10 ft area this water pipe belongs to my house and it’s on the survey, but now a days my neighbor is using the area as a parking lot for his cars, when I talked to him he said this 10 ft area... Read more »

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Apr 29, 2020

1. Get a survey.

2. Send him a No Trespass letter to get off your land.

3. Hire a lawyer to get him off your land.

Or,

1. Wait the time in the statute of limitations for adverse possession while doing nothing.

2. Pay a lawyer a ton of money to defend his...
Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for Maryland on
Q: Can my HOA decline my request to display the US flag on a flag pole in the state of Maryland? Flag pole is 20 feet tall

Flag is 3x5

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Apr 28, 2020

The HOA can require you to follow its rules, and neither flags nor images of religious icons change that. To determine whether the HOA is following its rules, retain counsel to review the Declarations, and the rules and rulings of the HOA.

4 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Maryland on
Q: I have just been notified that my bilogical father passed away. He had no will and I'm the only living heir

I have had no relationship with him nor anyone for almost 50 yrs. Apparently he really didnt have anything. A crappy car, bank acct. I live in TN his estate is in MD. My question is what do I do? I'm not spending a penny to do anything for a stranger for might be nothing in the end. Help

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Apr 21, 2020

If he had nothing, you have nothing. If he had a Will and gave everything to someone else or designated a beneficiary for his liquid assets, and that isn't you, you have nothing. You might have a right to the crappy car. If he had something in the bank, the bank isn't allowed to tell you... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for Virginia on
Q: buyer for my home, buying a condo, lender called my loan suspended due to covid, can buyers sue me if I can't move

I have a buyer for my home, Due to no fault of my own I cannot purchase my condo because of covid and lenders put halt on funds. This sale is contingent on the successful sale, close and disbursement of funds for the property. I don't know what my rights are?

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Apr 18, 2020

This is a unique and unanticipated situation, and we are all struggling to determine the legal effects. The answer starts with reading your contract. There are no precedents that say: "If your sale is halted by Covid-19, the result is always ABC regardless of what your contract says."... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Environmental, Land Use & Zoning and Real Estate Law for Maryland on
Q: I live in Maryland and have a cement alley that is not maintained by the city. Water leaks into my house; Can I sue?

Hello –

I have water leaking into my city basement home. I have done numerous repairs and attempts to lead the water away from my home but realize that I cannot control this without the city properly maintaining their alley. The cement alley has numerous cracks throughout and has an old... Read more »

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Apr 12, 2020

You need to start with a title search to determine whether the alley is owned by the city or whether the city merely has an easement to it. You then need to determine who has the duty to maintain, and whether you have the right to make the repair yourself. If the responsibility belongs to the city,... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for Virginia on
Q: Bought a home that was renovated sight unseen due to being military. Day I walk in found a foundation issue $45k to fix.

The home was purchased buy a company that buys renovated and sells. They renovated this one before I purchased it. As soon as I walked in I knew there was a problem because I could feel it in the floor. Bouncy and spongy. There is not enough support under the house. Do I have any recourse?

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Apr 10, 2020

It depends on your contract. Have it reviewed by someone local, and don't delay.

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