How to Transfer the Title of a Car in Probate

By Jennifer Williams

If a friend or relative dies and leaves you a vehicle, you may not want to wait until the estate clears probate before taking possession. Probate can take some time, depending on the size of the estate and the number of cases on the probate court's docket. It may be possible in your jurisdiction to claim the vehicle left to you before the estate is settled if a few conditions are met.

If a friend or relative dies and leaves you a vehicle, you may not want to wait until the estate clears probate before taking possession. Probate can take some time, depending on the size of the estate and the number of cases on the probate court's docket. It may be possible in your jurisdiction to claim the vehicle left to you before the estate is settled if a few conditions are met.

Step 1

Read the will to confirm that you are the designated beneficiary of the vehicle, and determine whether you inherit the vehicle alone or jointly with anyone else. If you inherit jointly, talk to the other heir and decide together whether you will share ownership, or whether one of you will buy the other out,

Protect your loved ones by a legally binding will. Make a Will Online Now

Step 2

Ask the personal representative if there is an outstanding lien on the vehicle, or if the deceased owned the vehicle free and clear of any auto or title loans. If there is debt associated with the vehicle, the lien holder should be a creditor of the estate. That creditor must be satisfied and the debt paid before the vehicle can be transferred out of the estate.

Step 3

Inquire as to whether it is possible to take possession of the vehicle before the close of probate. Assets of the estate are always subject to creditor's claims, and all creditors, not just the vehicle lien holder, must be paid. The personal representative can tell you if the estate has the money to satisfy all creditor claims, or if any assets may have to be liquidated before creditors can be paid. If the estate has significant debt, the personal representative or the probate court will likely deny your request to take title early, just in case sale of the vehicle is necessary to help satisfy creditors. If estate liquidity is sufficient to satisfy all creditors, ask if the probate judge must agree to allow you to have the car early. Some jurisdictions require judicial consent in this situation.

Step 4

Execute the transfer of title section on the back of the existing car title in front of a notary. Sign and date the assignment as the person to whom the title is being transferred. The personal representative may sign in lieu of the deceased.

Step 5

Have the transfer notarized.

Step 6

Take the notarized title, your identification and a copy of the death certificate to your local Department of Motor Vehicles, present the documents and request a new title issued in your name.

Protect your loved ones by a legally binding will. Make a Will Online Now
How to Remove a Divorced Spouse From an Auto Title in Michigan

References

Related articles

How to Find Out If an Estate Has Been Settled

Estate settlement occurs when the court approves the final report from the estate's appointed representative, usually an executor or administrator. The estate settlement process involves payment of the deceased's debts, final tax return fillings and the transfer and sale of assets with property and sale monies going to the deceased's heirs or will beneficiaries. Estate proceedings are a matter of public record, so if you need to know whether an estate was settled, you can find out by viewing the estate's court records. Finding out whether an estate is settled is useful in various situations, especially if you're a family member or will beneficiary who didn't receive your share, or a creditor who never received payment.

How to Title a Vehicle in Special Needs Trust

If you have a child or relative with disabilities, you can set up a special needs trust that will provide for her financial well-being. Placing a vehicle in the trust allows the trust beneficiary access to the vehicle, without being directly responsible for license and registration fees, taxes, upkeep and other costs.

How to Settle an Estate if There Is a Lien in North Carolina

When a North Carolina court adjudicates a debt, the creditor may file a lien for the amount of the debt against the debtor's real property. The debtor's residence, commonly referred to as homestead property, is generally protected from sale, but other property may be sold to satisfy the debt if the debt is not paid or payment arrangements are not maintained. When the debtor dies, the lien remains attached to the property. How the estate is settled when a lien exists depends on the deceased's will.

LegalZoom. Legal help is here. Start Here. Wills. Trusts. Attorney help.

Related articles

How to Turn a Car Title Over to a Spouse in Divorce

When a couple separates, they must separate their personal lives, their finances and their property. During marriage, ...

How to Title an Inherited Vehicle in Texas

A Texas resident may inherit a vehicle in a variety of ways following the death of a friend or family member. Whether a ...

How to Sell a Vehicle in Michigan When Owner Dies Without a Will

Vehicles are often left riderless when their owners die, at least momentarily; however, riderless doesn't mean useless. ...

How to Request an Inheritance From an Executor

If you are either a named beneficiary or an heir of a deceased person, you are entitled to an inheritance from the ...

Browse by category