Real Estate Law
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If you enter into a fixed term lease with certain conditions for keeping the rent fixed, and the landlord dies, then his estate will have to honor the lease as long as they are the owner and then his heirs will have to continue to honor the lease once they inherit the house.
If his will directs the house to be sold, then the new owner would take the house subject to the existing lease.
As an aside, in addition to being an attorney, I have also been a landlord for over 26 years...
No, as long as it is signed by the landlord and you as the tenant, it is completely legally binding. No witnesses or notarization are necessary, but you can do so if you like.
And it doesn't make it any more legally binding if an attorney writes it up as opposed to you writing it up and clearly stating what you are agreeing to. Simple is better and you don't need a bunch of fancy "legalease" to make something legally binding. Set out what your agreement is in simple English, have both parties sign and date the agreement, and you have a binding contract.