As Ms. Mcnichonas points out, they are probably asking you to sign a renunciation which is different than a disclaimer (huge difference). The renunciation gives up your right to jointly administer the estate; the disclaimer gives up your right to claim under the estate. Again, big difference. Tell her you're happy to consider signing the form if she provides you with a copy and the opportunity to review it with your attorney.
The answer is a little too complicated to answer here, in part because I need more information. You have a limited duty to keep and return her items to her, but if she has abandoned them, that duty can expire. When the abandonment occurs is not a clear time, however. There are also other issues concerning the damage to the property and the status of the security deposit.
This is an interesting question and I say no, you are not. Or I would at least take that position if I were you. Why should you be if the tree is on both sides of your properties? Isn't it as much his tree as yours? And did you have notice that it was defective? If the tree were fully on your property and there was no reasonable indication that it was dangerous, you probably wouldn't be responsible. Also, the neighbor can remove any limbs hanging over his property line.
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I don't know if you would be able to refinance, but have you looked into it? Interest rates are much lower now and perhaps you could get your payment lowered.
A short sale might work. Also, have you looked into selling it? Another option might be a "Deed in Lieu of Foreclosure." You might want to talk to your mortgage company to see if that is an option.
I agree with my colleagues - the court has the authority to terminate your probation ahead of time - it will depend on the district attorney and your P.O. and ultimately the judge. From what you're saying you have a basis to try.
Renting one or both of the properties certainly is a good suggestion. Another option might be to put one or both on the market to generate some cash. Also, you should look at her will to see if there is any specific direction for you to follow.
As the executor, you have a duty to make decisions that are in the best interests of the estate. If you fail to keep the mortgages current, you could be personally responsible for the harm to the estate.
The short answer is yes, but there are many qualifications. For example: is it beyond 6 months from when the work was completed? Where you provided with formal notice of intent to file lien? Was there a clause in the contract you had with the contractor for him to defend liens? There are other qualifications...
I agree with my colleagues and would add a few points. First, once an arrest or conviction has been expunged, you can legally deny it as though it never happened. Second, the wording of the question is important. Was he actually "arrested"? He could have been given a citation without being arrested, so no arrest occurred. Does the application ask whether he was charged? This may be an illegal question on the application. Also, if it asks whether he was charged with a "crime," the answer...