Neighbors tree roots cracking my driveway?

Q: My elderly neighbor recently passed away. I approached the executor of her estate to cut down tree! She stated she had more important issues to deal with. What is my recourse? Can I sue? (Swissvale, PA)

A: If you do have a cause of action, or law suit, it would be against the estate, which is good. When an estate is opened, all you need to do is file a claim in Orphan’s Court, which is a one-page document. You don’t need to sue in the traditional sense, by filing and serving a complaint and then having a trial, all in compliance with the rules of civil procedure. As to whether you have a legitimate case, you should sit down with and attorney to review all the facts. Causation is important as well as whether you have notified the deceased person in the past about the tree roots encroaching on the property. I would try to talk to the Executor. I would also get an opinion in writing that the tree roots have caused the damage and what it will cost to make repairs.