Breaking up is hard to do

Q. My boyfriend and I bought a house two years ago. We recently broke up and he kept the house. He has been late on the mortgage payment, and the bank is now calling me. How do I get my name off this loan?

A. The simple answer is that you can’t get your name removed from the loan unless he refinances in his own name or the bank agrees to release you. The fact that you are no longer together is between you and your boyfriend. It does not affect your liability to the bank.

Q. To whom do I complain if I think my lawyer has been unethical and is cheating me?

A. I recommend you start with the State Bar of Texas. Its phone number is (800) 932-1900. As a first step, you might want to ask for a copy of the free publication “Attorney Complaint Information.” You can also visit the Bar online at

Q. I had a six-month lease that ended three months ago. I did not sign a new lease. Recently, I moved out to live with my family. Now the landlord says I owe rent for breaking the lease. How can I break a lease when I don’t have one?

A. Even though your formal six-month lease has ended, you still have a lease with your landlord. First, carefully read your original lease to see what it says happens at the end of six-months. It might provide that you become a month-to-month tenant and must give a certain amount of notice before you move. If your lease is silent about what happens at the end of six-months, the law creates a month-to-month lease and although it can be terminated at any time, you must give one month’s notice. If you did not give proper notice, you have broken your lease and might owe damages.

Q. I am the executor of my mother’s will. In the will, she left $7,000 to her grandchild. There is no money in her estate. Do I have to pay the $7,000?

A. You do not have to pay. The executor is merely the person who puts the will into effect and distributes the assets of the deceased. If there are no assets, the executor is not personally responsible for fulfilling the terms of the will.

Q. I applied for a job. The company said I have to work a full year before I would be entitled to a one-week vacation. Is this legal?

A. There is no requirement in the law that employers give their employees any vacation time. It is entirely a matter to be negotiated between you and your employer. If this is not acceptable to you, you can simply refuse the position or tell them you will accept the position only if you receive the vacation time you believe is fair and reasonable.

Q. What is a Power of Attorney for Health Care?

A. This is a document that allows you to designate another person to make medical decisions regarding your health care in the event you are unable to do so. For a free copy of a Medical Power of Attorney for Health Care, check out my Web site below.

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