Tamara Cross Receives Client’s Choice 2012 Award
Tamara Cross, Managing Attorney at The Cross Law Firm, APC based in San Diego, Ca received the distinguished Client’s Choice 2012 Award by Avvo.com. This award is given to the top attorneys in each practice area within California.
Avvo empowers consumers by rating doctors, dentists and lawyers, and having these real professionals answer their questions. Avvo profiles contain helpful information including experience, background, disciplinary history, and reviews from patients and clients.
Information meets guidance in the editorial Avvo Rating. The rating is calculated using a mathematical model that considers elements such as years of experience, board certification, education, disciplinary history, professional achievement, and industry recognition-all factors that are relevant to assessing a doctor, dentist or lawyer’s qualifications.
Contact San Diego Landlord Attorney Tamara Cross at The Cross Law Firm for a reduced-fee consultation today.
The Western Manufactured Housing Association‘s (WMA) 2012 Update of New Laws Seminar focuses on changes in the state law, as well as changes in state and federal regulations, and how these changes affect community operations. This year we will also discuss developing your Annual Quick List of important tasks that need to be accomplished annually.
The speaker panel will include mobilehome industry attorney Tamara Cross from The Cross Law Firm, APC and an industry veteran who owns and/or manages multiple manufactured home communities.
The seminar takes place tomorrow, January 18th, 2012 at the Hilton San Diego Mission Valley. Seminar hours are from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m and lunch is included.
These seminars fill up quickly so early registration is recommended.
Join us for these updates, refreshers and other useful resources to help you navigate the Mobilehome Residency Law (MRL) like a pro!
If the homeowner dies without a will, then as the community owner, the situation is not any different than that described above. You might be presented with a “Small Estates Affidavit”. In the absence of that, a representative of the estate still needs to be appointed. The process is essentially the same as that described above in that a petition is filed with the court by the person who seeks appointment as the legal representative. And if that person is approved by the court, he or she will be issued “Letters of Administration” as discussed previously.
In the situation where you have actual knowledge that the resident has died, but no one has come forward on that person’s behalf, then complicated issues of the proper service of notices necessary under the MRL arise. The proper steps or action to take in such situation will depend on the particular factual circumstances involved. As a result, it is recommended that you specifically consult with your legal counsel about the proper course of conduct in this situation, so you as the owner, can protect yourself from potential liability.
The death of a resident can present many potential “traps” for the mobilehome community owner or manager and it is recommended that you consult with legal counsel to determine the proper steps to take so you can avoid unnecessary liability.
After all, particularly when it comes to legal expense, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”.
For more information, contact Mobilehome Park Lawyer Tamara Cross today.
A Small Estates Affidavit contains certain declarations under oath about:
1. The death of the resident
2. The legal heirs
3. The value of the estate
4. Other items required by the probate code section that authorizes its use
However, if an heir has been appointed as a representative of the estate by the court, he or she will receive a document, issued by the court, described above as “Letters of Administration”. That document will, among other things, contain the signature of a judge and a stamp from the court showing it has been issued and filed. Most importantly, it will identify the individual(s) who have been given the authority by the court to act on behalf of the estate, and the powers granted to that individual.
Then, and only then, can you rest assured that you are now dealing with the proper person(s) who have the authority to act on behalf of the estate.
For more information, contact Mobilehome Park Attorney Tamara Cross today.
Who Should You (as the Mobilehome Community Owner) Deal With Regarding the Decedent’s Estate (Continued)?
However, in the case of a supposed heir or personal representative, your inquiry does not stop upon mere verification of death. Once you have verified or established that the resident is dead, the question for you as the owner, regardless of whether the person has died with or without a will, is does that individual have authority to act or not. This would generally require an official court document, typically known as “Letters of Administration”, depending on the particular county. A possible exception to this, is something frequently referred to as a “Small Estates Affidavit”. This document, which is executed under oath, can be used in certain situations (which are specified in the probate code) and can allow for the release of personal property of the deceased pursuant to the statements in that declaration. There are specific requirements with regard to such affidavits, so it is recommended that you consult with legal counsel if you are presented with such a document.
Furthermore, the HCD allows an heir, after 40-days from the death of the resident, to fill out and file a form called “Certificate for Transfer Without Probate”. With this form, the heir signs an affidavit under oath, and if all requirements are met, the HCD will transfer title of the mobilehome into the individual’s name. Documentation reflecting that the HCD has transferred (or is transferring) title of the mobilehome to the heir/personal representation should also be suffi cient to prove authority to act.
In the absence of documents showing title has been transferred to the heir, joint tenant or personal representative, only the legally appointed representative of the estate with specific court ordered powers has the authority to act on behalf of the deceased. This includes the authority to sell the mobilehome or to enter the home and remove its contents.
Contact Tamara Cross at The Cross Law Firm, APC to discuss additional questions regarding the death of a resident in your mobilehome community.
Tamara Cross, Attorney at The Cross Law Firm, APC is presenting the Western Manufactured Housing Communities Association’s (WMA) August 2011 MCM Seminar discussing pools, parking and other tricky issues that managers and owners of mobilehome parks throughout California face. The seminar will take place at the Hilton San Diego Mission Valley on Thursday, August 18, 2011.
From the WMA’s website:
“This seminar focuses on topics that demand a lot of attention from management. These are also the topics that can get management into the most trouble, namely discrimination. Make sure to attend this seminar to learn the do’s and don’ts when tackling these issues.
Six units of MCM credit can be earned upon passing the corresponding exam administered at the end of the seminar. Seminar hours are from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Lunch is included. “
Please visit our website for more information about California Mobilehome Park Attorney Tamara Cross.
Who Should You (as the Mobilehome Community Owner) Deal With Regarding the Decedent’s Estate?
While there are an innumerable number of ways to die, when someone dies, it is either with a will (“testate”) or without a will (“intestate”). In the first instance, the dearly departed has executed a writing which identifies someone whom they want to manage their affairs upon death and what they want to happen with their property. In the latter, they have left that up to the laws of the state they are in.
From your perspective as the mobilehome community owner, the obligation to establish the death of the resident is that of the person(s) seeking to take some action regarding the mobilehome or its contents. This person(s) should be able to present you with a certified copy of a death certificate which will verify the identity and death of the resident. Depending on the county, this certificate will contain an official stamp, typically in purple ink, reflecting that it is an official record of that county.
To determine if a mobilehome is owned in joint tenancy, you can look at the Housing and Community Development (HCD) issued title of the mobilehome and it should indicate that the owners are “joint tenants.” If title is held in joint tenancy, then the verification of the resident’s death (and in some situations an accompanying “Affidavit of Death of Joint Tenant”), as well as confirming the identity of the joint tenant should be enough to establish that the individual has authority to take control over the mobilehome.
The Mobilehome Residency Law (MRL) provides limited rights to the decedent’s heirs, joint tenants or personal representative. Specifically, the MRL allows a homeowner’s heir, joint tenant or personal representative of the decedent’s estate, who gains ownership of a mobilehome in a mobilehome community as a result of the homeowner’s death, to sell the mobilehome in place in the community to an approved purchaser. This right, however, is conditioned on the heir, joint tenant or personal representative satisfying all of the deceased homeowner’s obligations under the lease. These obligations include satisfying the rent, utilities and maintenance obligations since the death of the homeowner and that continue to accrue until the date the mobilehome is sold. (Civil Code Section 798.78(a).)
One problem with this provision of the MRL that is of concern to you as a community owner, is that it assumes the person has a particular status (heir, joint tenant or personal representative). So, the question(s) for you as the community manager or owner are:
- How do you know who is legally entitled to access and potentially sell the deceased homeowner’s mobilehome?
- How do you ensure that a person claiming to have authority to act for the deceased homeowner is the legal representative of the decedent’s estate?
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It is often said that life is full of uncertainties, which rings particularly true in today’s world. Will the stock market rise or fall? Will real estate continue its downward trend? Will gas prices continue to skyrocket? When will Charlie Sheen suffer another “meltdown”?
On the other hand, you can find certainty in death and taxes. This article will give you an overview of which steps you, as owner or manager of a mobilehome community, should take upon the death of a homeowner in your community.
In a traditional landlord/tenant relationship, a month-to-month lease terminates upon the death of the tenant. In the mobilehome community, however, a resident’s death does not terminate the responsibility to pay the rent and utilities if the mobilehome remains on the space.
Attorney Tamara Cross, Lawyer in San Diego of The Cross Law Firm, APC presents at the WMA’s (Western Manufactured Housing Communities) April MCM Seminar on April 21st, 2011 at the Hilton San Diego Mission Valley.
The way you prepare and serve your residency forms can make or break you in court, or even better, keep you out of court if you do it right at the beginning! Learn from management and legal experts on how to properly prepare key forms, and why the attention to detail is so important in order to see the appropriate outcome. Seminar attendees will receive a complete set of WMA residency form samples, which include examples and tips (an incredible value!).
About the WMA:
The Western Manufactured Housing Community Manager (MCM) program began in 1993 and has continued to grow in popularity and numbers throughout the years. our MCM faculty is drawn from our members and represents experienced industry attorneys, community owners and management leaders. The Western Manufactured Housing Education Group (WMEG), in conjunction with Western Manufactured Housing Communities Association (WMA)
awards this designation to community management professionals who have distinguished themselves in the areas of experience, education, and ethical conduct.
To qualify for the MCM designation, a candidate must complete courses in the MCM Accreditation Program totaling 60 hours, and pass the corresponding exams. This can be accomplished in a three year period if all courses offered are attended. MCM participants can login and track their progress and view their course history on our website.
Successful individuals in our industry understand that staying informed on regulations, laws and best practices is one of the most powerful tools to protect assets and avoid litigation.