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Morton R Covitz

Morton Covitz’s Answers

20 total


  • California Attorney charged me a retainer fee despite NEVER signing any docs and verbally and in writing advising not to pursue.

    Well, thanks to all who responded to my initial question. You were all on spot correct. My CC company reversed the charges - please note I did tell the attorney I would pay her a consult fee for her time (that is only fair) However, I open my em...

    Morton’s Answer

    The Ethical Rules in most states make it a violation if a lawyer threatens criminal prosecution to gain advantage in a claim against another. You should report this to the appropriate Attorney Ethics Commission in your State or County.

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  • Can one of the two joint tenants with the right of survivorship add a relative on the deed or sell/transfer her part?

    My cousin made a deed with another person as joint tenants with the right of survivorship. As far as I know, she cannot remove him from the deed. Can she add a relative on the deed or sell/transfer her part?

    Morton’s Answer

    The f orm of ownership for bothe joint tenanciies creats no present rights in either. They each own only an expectancy. That is, a possibility of full ownership if one survives the other. However, either party may, by deed, assign all or a portion of that right of survivorship. The Assignee would then have the right to succeed to all or a portion of the ownership, IF THE ASSIGNOR (NOT THE ASSIGNEE) SURVIVES THE OTHER PARTY..

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  • In nj if a home inspectir Doesn't provide a homebuyer with the required pre-inspection agreement what happens?

    I had a home inspected in New Jersey before I bought it. Home inspector never provided me with the required pre-inspection agreement that is required by law. After I purchased the house I found there was a huge problem in the subfloor and floor jo...

    Morton’s Answer

    New JJersey Home Inspectors have tried to limit their liability for errors or omissions in their acttivities by provisions in the Pre-Inspection Agreement. The New Jersey Courts have dealt with this practice by finding these disclaimers invalid under Consumer Protection Law. In addition, the State Legislature has passed new laws limiting the contents of these agreements. So it is very likely that the Home Inspector is liable to you for failure to provide the essential report prior to closing (Non-Feasance) Or for failure to properly prepare the report (Misfeasance) . Your attorney will advise you as to the legal route to take. The fact that t he Inspector's Insurance Company might disclaim coverage is possible, but with this set of facts, they would not succeed.

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  • I own a condominium in Florida. I had guests who spilled wine in the common area carpeting. Am I responsible for replacement?

    condo assoc. is saying I must pay for replacement. Doesn't master insurance policy cover common areas of condo building?

    Morton’s Answer

    The answer depends upon the content of the Organizational Documents of the Condo. (Master Deed, Declaration, etc.) Most of these documents impose liability upon the Owner if one of his guests damages or destroys common element facilities. Check your documents and this will anwer the question more accurately.

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  • Question about Admin Cost Deductable from Estate Real Property Sold After 9 Month After Death of the Owner - NJ

    The question is: in NJ, whether there is an exception or grace period for purpose of deducting admin costs, e.g. commission/RE taxes/closing costs if the real property is sold after 9 months of the date of death of the owner?

    Morton’s Answer

    If the adminitration costs are incurred, they are all deductible from State Inheritance Tax Returns regardless of when the Real Estate is sold. Of course the cut-off date would be teh date the Tax Return is filed. But if additional expenses are incurred thereafter, or if the previous total contained an error, an amended retrun can be filed to take advantage of the additional costs.

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  • Is my attorney guilty of a conflict of interest

    I hired him for a criminal charge reduced to a disorderly person and he was removed from the case because he represented the plaintiff 2x before. He denied in a letter to me and denied to a superior court judge that the municipal court judge said...

    Morton’s Answer

    Assuming this is a New Jersey matter, unless the attorney's prior representation of the complainant involved anything dealing with the criminal charge, (doubtful since it was a real estate transaction or transactions) there would not be a conflict of interest. Previously New Jersey had the "appearance of impropriety" rule. That was removed by the Supreme Court in recent years. So, even if it appears to be wrong, unless there is a direct conflict, there is no wrongdoing.
    As to the lawsuit for fees, you have a right to demand Fee Arbitration from the local Fee Arbitration Committee. If this was not offered to you by the Attorney before he/she started suit against you, the Court must dismiss the case and refer it to the Fee Arbitration Committee. In Bergen County New Jersey you may phone the Secretary of this Committee, Michael Sprague, at 201-342-0808

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  • Legal Malpractice

    What is the statue of limitations to file a legal malpractice suit in New Jersey?

    Morton’s Answer

    It is 6 years from the date you discovered the malpractice. If you don't know your attorney committed malpractice and then you discover that he/she did and it is 5 years ago, you stillhave another 6 years to sue. But if you had good reason to know, and you just didn't bother to really find out, this could be held against you.

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  • My friend shot me in the foot and and we told the police somebody else did it. can i go to jail for lying to them?

    he shot me on accident. but the police came and asked me a month later and i lied again but now i want to tell them the truth

    Morton’s Answer

    You can be charged with giving a false report the the Police. The penalty is up to the sentencing judge. While jail is possible, there may be mitgating circumstances.

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  • 5 year old check that was never cashed?

    I am an independent trucker. 5 years ago tomorrow I was paid for work I preformed.. Apparently the check was never cash. "I think it was stolen by an employee and I never received it" Is there a statute of limitations on them to issue me a new ch...

    Morton’s Answer

    The company who issued the check can STOP PAYMENT and give you a repalcement check.

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  • What state can you get married if your Not legally divorced?

    Were waiting for a divorce that takes over a year but ready to get married now, what could we do?

    Morton’s Answer

    NONE

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