If you have a neighbor with a dead tree, what should you do to protect yourself and your family? Obviously, make your neighbor aware of the dead tree, and find out if he/she plans to have it cut down. If they do not cut it down, send them a certified letter informing them that the tree needs to be removed. You can even blame it on your insurance agent if you would like to keep the peace.
If the dead tree falls, your neighbor is responsible for any damage it causes. If a live tree falls, your neighbor is not responsible. Notice I don’t say anything about who the tree belongs to. If it is a living tree, your homeowners insurance will cover your damage regardless of who owns the tree.
In summary, if your neighbor’s tree is dead, send him/her a certified letter. It might not help your relationship, but it is the right thing to do.