Skip to main content
Martin L Bearg

Martin Bearg’s Answers

774 total


  • I had made a deposit on a party venue for june of next year i never signed a contract i had to cancel the event

    my question is without me signing the contract can i get my money back without having a problem i spoke to one of the managers and they told me the only way i can get my money back is by waiting to see if that room gets booked for that date next y...

    Martin’s Answer

    You say that you booked the venue for next year. Was your deposit more than 1 year from the date of the event? The NJ Statute of Frauds requires that a contract to be performed more than a year away must be in writing, otherwise a verbal contract is binding, and it is not unusual for such venues to require that someone else book the facility to get a refund.

    You need to consider the size of the deposit and if it is worth the cost of litigation, and if you have proof of this payment (a canceled check or receipt).

    Perhaps a negotiation of a partial refund will be a simpler resolution.

    See question 
  • Not enough in the estate to cover debts...

    I am executor of my mother's estate in NJ. She passed July 2015 and had a Will. She owned a co-op and had a reverse mortgage on it. Her estate had about $20,000 in the bank. The mortgage debt is about $27,000. There is other debt totaling abo...

    Martin’s Answer

    As you note, you have an insolvent estate. In such case the funeral bill and related expenses get paid first, then costs of administration and then the bank's secured debt.

    I would cease paying the co-op fees as the bank will either foreclose (debt due on her death), or not wish to take title and will encourage you to sell the co-op and cancel the debt. A foreclosure will eliminate the co-op's lien. A sale will require satisfaction of the co-op fees.

    You really should consult with a real estate attorney and estate attorney.

    See question 
  • What can I do to protect me from that disclaimer?

    I signed a renunciation of inheritance of my late husband in portugal. It does not specify it is only for portugal. We owned a house in nj and it was bought as a husband and wife. I was his beneficiary in his ira account and I got a work compensa...

    Martin’s Answer

    It depends on the wording of the renunciation. Without more, your question is difficult to answer.

    As a general principle, real property owned as H & W, as well as a IRS or qualified plan benefit are NOT probate assets. If properly worded it should also disclaim or renounce either a stated sum of money/value of assets, and, in your case, that the assets are located in Portugal. If, however the renunciation was part of a prenuptial agreement or merely stated you renounce/disclaim ALL his assets, it will include US assets as well.

    The house is jointly owned, what you may have disclaimed is the "right of survivorship," which would create two equal tenancies in common and result in only one half of the value of the house being included in his estate and, if he had a traditional will, pass to a family or bypass trust instead of you as the surviving spouse.

    You really need to see an estate & trust attorney.

    See question 
  • I took my niece in but what rights do I have as the aunt of an almost 18 yr old in last year of college?

    My name is Linda reside in New Jersey. Me and my husband reside in Bayonne but we are in the process of moving to South Amboy because we brought a house. Now my niece who is 17 yrs. old comes from a broken home, her mother is very disrespectful a...

    Martin’s Answer

    The cut off date in most NJ school districts is Oct. 1. My son was born Sept. 11 and went to kindergarten a year before my niece born in the same year, but in Nov.. I would speak to a guidance counselor in Perth Amboy. If you have a contract to purchase a home in town, that may be sufficient, if you want to commute if necessary, to have her start the year in Perth Amboy.

    As noted by my colleague from WA, if she were younger, it would pay to seek guardianship of your niece, but as she will turn 18, and be an adult, you should probably wait to the second week of Sept. You will need proof that you reside in Perth Amboy and she will need proof she is residing there with you. She should change her mailing address as well ass voter registration and driver's license when registering in school. If she does not drive, she still can go to the DMVC and get a photo ID, but will need to satisfy the 6 point test.

    Regarding income taxes, if you will be providing 50% or more of her support, then you can claim her as a dependent. You might have to fight with her parents or put an attachment on your return stating why you and not her parents are entitled to take her has a dependent as it does not appear they will agree to sign the required form.

    Your are very nice to take your niece in. Good luck.

    See question 
  • Can LLC with 3 member partnership need to file form-1065 and K1 if there was no revenue and expenses during the year?

    Hello, We formed an LLC in 2015 with 3 member partnership. Its a member managed LLC. There was no revenue and expenses during 2015. According to IRS site, we don't need to file taxes if there was no revenue and no expenses/do not want to claim...

    Martin’s Answer

    As my colleagues have noted, technically a three member LLC taxed as a partnership need not file Form 1065, BUT the NJ Division of Taxation does not know (nor the IRS), that there was no income. Unless you file, you may receive a letter from the Division asking why a return was not filed.

    BTW: You state you do not want to take expenses incurred. You take them or lose the deduction. If you incurred expenses, such as for an accountant or acquisition of assets or rent, and you are your two partners are actively trying to operate this business, you may be entitled to take the loss incurred on your Form 1040.

    See question 
  • My mom passed and left the only asset (house) to myself and brother. she left a last will testament certifying.

    i have with me the deed of the house, the will and mom death certificate. I need to transfer to deed over in my name and brothers. Can I take care of this process on my own or do i need representation to go through probate? Can I avoid probate. p...

    Martin’s Answer

    Real property passes to the designated beneficiaries in the Will at the moment of death, HOWEVER, there is no chain of title should you wish to sell the house for a title company to know you and your brother own the house. You can record a deed transferring the property, BUT not until there is a legal representative of the estate (an executor) appointed by the Surrogate, which happens when you probate the Will.

    Can you do it yourself? Probate yes. Prepare a deed, NO. Go to the first floor of the Admin. Bld. on Newark Ave. in Jersey City with the Will, an original death certificate with raised seal and a check book. It will take a half hour or less and the Letters Testamentary will be mailed to you.

    The Surrogate has no idea how much the estate is worth, and will notify the NJ Division of Transfer Inheritance & Estate Tax. You file a Form L-9 to get a Tax Waiver that needs to be filed in Trenton with the Division, and the Waiver filed with the Hudson County Clerk (same building). Then see a real estate attorney to prepare a deed if you wish, but it is not required. Keep copies of the Tax Waiver stamped "Filed" by the County Clerk.

    See question 
  • What are the guide lines on "back rental value" if an heir to an estate has lived in a home that is apart of the estate

    A grandfather passes away. The grandfathers children have also passed away leaving 4 grandchildren as the heirs to his estate. The grandchild who lived in the grandfathers home a majority of her life continued to live in the home after he passed...

    Martin’s Answer

    First one should know that probate is the act of submitting a will to the Surrogate to determine if it is valid. What you are dealing with is the administration of the estate. If the Will directs the sale of the real property, or gives the property to my children in equal shares, or if not living, to their heirs, per stirpes, the grandchildren then living own the house in equal shares at the moment of death.

    You can argue with your cousin about back rent, but if he/she has paid the taxes, utilities, etc., some, if not all the fair market value rent has been paid and enabled you to maintain homeowner's insurance, which would be canceled by the company if the house is vacant.

    If you are seeking to collect rent for all the years your cousin lived with your grandfather, that will be difficult to determine, especially if your cousin took care of your grandfather.

    At this juncture, the grandchild should either agree to purchase the house or place it on the market for sale to a third party. If your cousin will not do this, you need the help of an attorney to compel the occupying grandchild to do one of these two things.

    If there was no will, one of the cousins needs to petition the Surrogate in the county where the house is located to be appointed administrator of your grandfather's estate.

    See question 
  • Can one co-executor close an estate account and open a new estate account with only his name on it?

    My brother and I are co-executors of my father's estate. We had an estate account with both of our names on it. Without my knowledge my brother closed the account and opened a new estate account in h u s name only.

    Martin’s Answer

    This sounds as a breach of his fiduciary duty to you as co-executor and the beneficiaries. It might have been done for convenience to pay your father's last bills or funeral expenses, but without knowing more facts you should consult the estate's attorney if there is one. If not, hire one.

    See question 
  • Are voicemail complaints proof?

    I'm disabled and have a ESA (emotional support animal) and they are trying to evict me. There's only complaints made by my downstairs neighbor (who for the past 6 years has been harassing me) saying my dog has been barking 24/7, but no complaints ...

    Martin’s Answer

    There is both Federal and NJ law protecting your right to maintain a therapy dog. I do not know if these laws also govern an ESA dog. Therapy dogs are allowed in grocery stores. Others are not. Therapy dogs are allowed in hospitals and nursing homes, as well as food establishments. Other dogs are not.I am uncertain why you would not the dog at night (I hear mine), or why you would leave it alone if it is especially trained. If you have a disability, your place of work must provide you with reasonable accommodations under the ADA, including bringing the dog to work.

    No, recordings cannot be used as evidence because their authenticity cannot be validated. Affidavits or certifications from your other neighbors, or their appearances in court or before a hearing officer, would be valid evidence.

    See question 
  • Why can't I contact my landlord directly?

    Affordable Housing. In order to contact my landlord, I was told to hand my letter to the manager. The next time the manager sees the landlord in person, He will give the landlord my letter. Is this legal? Why am I not allowed to contact the landlo...

    Martin’s Answer

    Owners, which usually put real estate into a partnership or LLC, often hire managing companies to handle tenant complaints as well as collections, evictions and repairs. This (a) eliminate problems with tenants and personal liability. Affordable housing often is run by the city's Housing Authority, which designates a manager or management as the person to whom all complaints , including the need to break a lease, are to be given. As most Affordable Housing is high demand, the landlord may allow you to leave prior to the expiration of the lease, but whether it is a month-to month lease or a lease for a year or more, you are responsible unless the landlord has failed to make repairs to make the apt. habitable.

    See question