Ross Cameron Hart

Ross Cameron Hart

Hart & Hart Attorneys Ltd
  • Elder Law, Estate Planning, Probate...
  • Virginia
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Summary

I was born and grew up in the area - my family has served the legal needs of the area since 1892, over 120 years. My goal is to explain the legal process in plain English and to avoid the 'technical lawyer words' which only confuse many people. The primary focus of my firm is now "Elder Law" which broadly includes estate planning, Nursing Home admissions and Medicaid applications and adult guardianship. After a family member dies, we advise and assist in the estate administration process. In short, we help families plan and deal with aging and death and navigating the legal system.

Practice Areas
  • Elder Law
  • Estate Planning
  • Probate
  • Business Law
  • Real Estate Law
  • Landlord Tenant
Jurisdictions Admitted to Practice
Virginia
4th Circuit
Languages
  • English: Spoken, Written
Professional Experience
Owner/President
Hart & Hart Attorneys Ltd
- Current
Family firm begun by my grandfather and his brother (Hon. John L. Hart) in 1892
Education
University of Virginia School of Law
J.D. (1976)
-
Monmouth College
B.A. (1973) | Business Adm
-
Professional Associations
NAELA
MEMBER
- Current
Virginia Academy Elder Law Attorneys
Director
- Current
Salem/Roanoke County Bar Ass'n
Member
- Current
Virginia State Bar
Member
- Current
Websites & Blogs
Website
Hart & Hart Attorneys Ltd.
Legal Answers
8 Questions Answered

Q. Section 13 of lease agreement: "Liability of Landlord/Agent." Prospective tenant has crossed out two lines. Bad for me?
A: In my opinion you are correct to be concerned. As Mr. Maloof said, it can increase your exposure. Among other things, make sure your insurance covers tenant claims for injury or loss on your properties. By the way, there is no 'Standard Lease Agreement' in Virginia - there are only templates that are put together by internet vendors, real estate agent associations, lawyers, etc. ONE SIZE DOES NOT FIT ALL. You don't indicate how many properties you rent out as an investment, but if it's more than 2 or 3, spend the money and sit down with a good landlord tenant lawyer who has their own 'in house' form, and get it customized to your situation.
Q. Can a LL evict me if I have recently become disabled? Not sure I can pay rent on time.
A: Unfortunately, yes. Look at it from their side: they have a mortgage, taxes, insurance, utilities, etc. that have to be paid; of the rent you pay them their 'profit' may be remarkably small. A roof over your head is one of the three most important things you can have (food and medical are the others). A car usually isn't in that top list. Cable TV absolutely isn't. If you're going to have trouble, let your landlord know immediately and each week give an update of your situation and make whatever payment you can. Some landlords will work with you; some are jerks. I hope yours is one of the good ones.
Q. The Redemption Law of Virginia will not be on our side?
A: You have asked a generic question without any factual background or context. Therefore it is incapable of being answered.
Q. My mother left her house to my sister, she has abandoned the house and it was condemned, do I have a legal right to it?
A: If you were in my office I'd have a series of questions, beginning with "HOW did your mother 'leave' the house to your sister?" If it was willed, and the will recorded at the courthouse, then you do not have a right to it, and title to the property is in your sister whether or not she wants it. This forum is designed and good for simple, general questions that will get you to the 'next step' for legal situations. Sometimes all people need is a simple answer. From the facts you’ve given, it seems that you need a lot more than an internet answer. Find and sit down with an experienced attorney in your area – there is a ‘search’ feature that can help you.
Q. Can a residence in quit claim be affected by a lien?
A: I have no idea what you mean by putting property 'in quit claim'. So I don't know how the property (Marital residence) was owned. If your mother owned the property at her death, and was still married to your father, he got rights to the property either under her will or intestate laws. If there are judgment or other liens in his name, recorded in the court house of the county (or city) where the property is located, then yes, they are liens. Whether the lien will affect distribution or sale of the property depends on multiple factors including how old it is - there is a statute of limitations on how long a lien can be enforced.
Q. Moved into an apt 7 days ago & made 2 noise complaints already. Can I break the lease w/out penalty if this persists?
A: This is actually a Landlord Tenant issue. And there are provisions in your lease that affect it. And it's a very very tricky problem. Management can't tell you precisely what they've done on your complaint - privacy works several ways. And even if they took action, it will take them 2 or 3 months if they have to go to court to deal with the noisy tenants (of course, you'd be a witness so you'd know about it). If it's impossible to stay there, you can file a 'Tenant Assertion' in General District Court and ask the judge to either let you out of the lease or reduce the rent because of the lack of enjoyment you have. However, your lease may provide that if you sue the owner and lose, you may have to pay their attorneys fees to defend it - sort of a dis-incentive. Is there a different apartment they could relocate you to as a compromise? And are you recording the noise that comes into your apartment?
Q. Probate law for Virginia. Do I need to hire an attorney to collect what I was owed by the estate?
A: In Virginia there are time periods and priorities for payment of estate obligations. With some exceptions I advise my fiduciary clients to wait a year before paying most claims in an estate. To protect yourself you can file a claim with the court where probate is pending - the claim is filed with the Commissioner of Accounts for that court under Virginia Code 64.2-552, here: https://law.lis.virginia.gov/vacode/title64.2/chapter5/section64.2-552/ Should you hire a lawyer? Having someone who knows the process is always a good idea. Can you recover your fees paid to a lawyer? it's doubtful.
Q. Our condo was listed for 325k, we were offered 332k by a military couple. We took their offer.
A: It depends on the exact terms of the contract of sale and you need to read that. Most standard real estate contracts used by brokers and agents have a "VA LOAN" clause which says that if the VA declines to finance the transaction the deal is off.
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Contact & Map
HART & HART ATTORNEYS, LTD.
40 W Main St
PO Box 567
Salem, VA 24153
USA
Telephone: (540) 375-3281
Fax: (540) 375-7677