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Richard S Sternberg
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Richard Sternberg’s Answers

142 total


  • The date of my court trial I was rushed to the emergency room to have a procedure the procedure was caused by the stress of the

    good lawyers are very proclaiming the judges are very prejudice and have entered void judgmentsI had nine court appearances in 7 months only missed that one I also brought medical documentation excusing me for that day and the nextI've had encount...

    Richard’s Answer

    Sounds to me like you need a lawyer, but it also sounds like you had one. Have you asked him or her to explain and provide you with options?

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  • Want to stop my grandchild's father from coming to my house. his visitation orders says he's not to come, but he won't stop.

    I call the police but he just keeps coming. He and my daughter has a neutral meeting place to drop off and pick up their child. But he comes to my house whenever he feels like it. I feel so lost and harassed in my own home, like i'm helpless and c...

    Richard’s Answer

    If there is a protective order against the father visiting, the police should be enforcing that when he arrives. If they don't, call the station captain. If the order merely binds the other parties, you need to get the order modified or get a new civil protection order. If he hasn't done anything to merit a new protective order keeping him off your property, you might try consulting an attorney about noticing him against trespass.

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  • If someone pays taxes on an abandoned property can they take possession ?

    abandoned property hooked up yo my well

    Richard’s Answer

    No. This is one of my favorite fictions in the Lore of the Law, second only to the predominently Southern concept or Heir Property. Sometimes, if you pay the taxes and a court 21 years later finds that you were still possessing the property openly and adversely, continuously and hostilely to its true owner (and, I'd suggest that paying the taxes means it isn't hostile if the owner knows of it), then you'd have adverse possession after you sued to quiet title. If the title owner claimed it back before the Limitations period, you could sue to get back whatever you had had paid in the last few years. The rest would be beyond the statute of limitations, so you'd have no enforceable right to get it back.

    Finally, your premise is wrong. Ever since the Domesday Book scribed around 1066 CE at the command of William the Conqueror, there is no ownerless, abandoned real property. If it is ignored and unattended long enough, it escheats to the State. In more modern terms, it gets sold for taxes.

    But, if you move onto the property, fence it, farm or house it, defend it, and the taxes have been paid, then, many, many years from now, after you pay someone like me, it might be yours. That's called adverse possession.

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  • In Washington DC can you ask a small business To Vacate in 31 days (Xerox paper no letter head) without the courts involvement?

    My family has a small business at the same location for the past 26 years. Last month one of my employees provided a family member with a 31 Vacate Notice. I have not received any type of notice prior to the one provided by an employee (11/22). Th...

    Richard’s Answer

    You REALLY need a lawyer, and you need one NOW before you say and do things that will muck up a perfectly lovely and fun case. I started my career thirty years ago with a case that sounded much like this, and it is still one of my favorites after all these years. Stop doing anything. Pay only what your lease says. Do exactly what your lease says. Sit down with a decent DC-barred lawyer who knows how to play in DC L&T court. It'll cost less than the proper rent, and it could result in you being bought out of your lease.

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  • I sued the city District of Columbia and we settled at out at mediation, how long do they have to send issue the money.

    The time frame was not listed in the settlement papers on when they will issue the money. How long normally does the District of Columbia goverment takes to issue the money. i signed the W9 and other papers that the District sent to my lawyer.

    Richard’s Answer

    If you have a lawyer representing you in the matter, the proper and best thing for you to do is to ask that lawyer. None of us are permitted to interfere with your attorney-client relationship other than to advise you that you need to talk to your lawyer.

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  • Hello, I would like to start a Virtual Assistant--Personal Assistant Business

    I want to work with independent contractors, but I would also like to make a percentage of profit from their work. Is that legal? Also I know initially independent contractors have their own set price for work done which is another problem becaus...

    Richard’s Answer

    Mr. Reed is quite correct that the matter is much more complex, and you either need some background and education in business and labor law or a decent lawyer to advise you. The consult time may not, however, be that expensive. In the meantime, here are a few tips. Whether a person is an employee or an independent contractor is a factual conclusion based on a number of factors. The level of employment (e.g., licensed lawyer or doctor vs. assistant-clerk); who controls work hours; who controls or provides the tools used; and what the parties claim to be in a contract are some of the most commonly relevant facts to consider. In the field you are describing, correct design and documentation of the work through contracts and handbooks can probably preserve the independent contractor status, though the law prefers employee status, since that confers many benefits to the employee and increases employment tax ease of collection. Some jurisdictions, like DC, are more hostile to independent contractor arrangements, so it is wise to be careful rather than learn retroactively that you owe non-bankruptcy-affected withholding and employment taxes that you never collected.

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  • Probating will for assets in US by US expatriate with no USA address

    I live abroad and have no US address, I have bank accounts in USA. How and where does my executor handle probate for my will

    Richard’s Answer

    My colleague is correct that probate occurs in the domicile of the decedent, and I might add that bank and stock accounts generally transfer outside of probate. Thus, upon your demise, the named beneficiary gains access to the funds by presenting your death certificate with no need for Letters of Administration. There may, however, be some tax and Patriot Act reporting involved, much of which could be avoided by using a trust or LLC. I'd need to research that, but I recently had a Virginia estate with Austrian bank accounts, and the Austrians required some probate-like reporting and tax. It might be best to make a list of the US and foreign assets along with the last month's statements and let a lawyer take an hour to investigate.

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  • How do I open a case that was closed for large real estate in probate. PR named in will died and the replacement PR died.

    My uncle was PR and filed will court. He filed for abbreviated unsupervised administration and will waived bond. He was appointed by court as Administration of the estate. There was a motion to vacate summary hearing for removal of PR. This wa...

    Richard’s Answer

    The obvious answer is that you need an attorney experienced in DC probate work. This is our bread 'n' butter lately. The Will was surely filed long ago by your predecessor. As long as you have priority to serve as personal representative or can explain why everyone above you in priority consents or cannot object to your service, you need do no more than file a Petition to Reopen Estate. The deceased named PRs will not be a problem, and a simple affidavit will suffice. You'll get your Letters in a few weeks, and can move on quickly thereafter, If your objective is to sell the house, we can guide you in listing it, and, if you can't afford the legal fees, we can often find an investor in DC who will contract to buy the house and guarantee probate fees. If you can afford the fees -- and they shouldn't be too expensive if everyone is available and cooperates -- we can refer you to Realtors who specialize in this sort of transaction. If there are tenants or squatters, that will present a who other can or worms, but we can help with that, too.

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  • My landlord and I just signed a lease for a room rental in DC on 9/2. Can the landlord come back the next day and rescind the l

    I just moved in to the room on the evening of August 29, 2014. The lease was presented to me for my review and possible questions. Corrections were made and both the landlord and I signed the lease on 9/2/2014. The lawyer wants to now rescind t...

    Richard’s Answer

    I agree with both of my colleagues. A contract is a contract. To evict you, your landlord needs to file a Complaint for Possession and provide a basis for terminating the lease. Non-payment of rent might be one of them, but, if you are paying (or can prove you are tendering payment), your landlord has no basis to interfere with your quiet enjoyment of the property. At the end of the lease, and in some unusual circumstances before then, the landlord may be able to terminate early, but he is required to provide specific notice of 30 or 90 days (depending on the basis).

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  • My husband died and we held the house in joint tenancy with rights of survivalship. Do I have to change the deed to my name ONLY

    no more details necessary

    Richard’s Answer

    I join my colleagues in expressing condolences and in their advice. If the deed was JTWROS, the property passed to you on death. It might speed your sale in the future to keep an original death certificate around, and I believe it costs very little if you decide to record a corrected deed.

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