How to transfer a car title after death in order to sell the vehicle
While you may want to hang onto some possessions when a loved one dies, a vehicle is usually something you'll want to sell (assuming you already have your own) but it can be a chore to transfer a car title deed after death. It can be even more stressful if you are still reeling from the loss, so this guide aims to help make the whole process a little less taxing, both mentally and emotionally.
It may be unpleasant to think about our untimely demise, but it is still a good idea to write up a will, even if it is as basic as leaving all your worldly possessions to a spouse or relative. This piece of paper can make all the difference when you want to figure out how to transfer the ownership of a car after death. However, it's not the only document needed to claim and sell a car. Here are all the steps you will need to take to complete the registration if you have the last will:
Okay, there will be a few problems, but none that you can't overcome, so long as you understand your survivorship rights. If you owned the car jointly with your husband/wife then you simply need a copy of the death certificate and your ID to take full ownership.
Some forward-thinking car buyers may actually include a Transfer on Death clause in their title, which names a person to take ownership in the event of death, Once again you will need the death certificate, but also a letter from the court which clarifies that the owner died 'intestate' and that no probate is required for you to take ownership of the car.
Failing all this, or if the will was somehow lost, you will have to undergo probate. This requires that the living heirs agree to the distribution of the assets. If you're the only surviving heir, this is relatively painless, but if there are others and nobody feels amicable about who gets what, it can end up being a lengthy and expensive ordeal. For this reason, it is advised that everyone, especially parents, keep their wills up to date. The last thing a grieving family needs is the kids squabbling over an inheritance.
Keep in mind that, regardless of the situation, transferring a car title after death usually requires waiting for the grace period to pass. Apart from just being respectful, it also allows the new owner time to get their paperwork in order. The exact length of this period varies depending on local laws.
Once you have the title deed in hand with your name on it, how to sell a car of a deceased person becomes a simple process. Make sure you have the correct medical records, the certificate of the title, and any necessary bank statements, then follow the tips and steps to selling a car suggested here. Be wary of car-selling scams. If you already have an idea of how the process works, here is a quick list of the documents needed for selling a car with a deceased owner:
Depending on the circumstances, there are a few things you can do. If the car was jointly owned, you simply need to inform the DMV of the death of the other owner, and the title will be updated. Alternately, you may have been named in the Transfer on Death clause. In most cases, though, all you will need is a death certificate and your ID, and possibly your marriage certificate.
Yes. Depending on the nature of the loan, you may have to settle it before changing the car title after death. However, many dealers are willing to buy vehicles with outstanding payments, which they then settle afterward before selling it again.
Yes, you simply need to know how to transfer a car title to a family member, assuming you were related. If you are unsure, seek help from your local DMV or an attorney. If you are buying a deceased person's car, make sure the seller has done the paperwork correctly and is legally allowed to sell it to you.
Car insurance may be taken out for a single individual or as a package deal with multiple dependants. In the event of the former, it simply lapses, though you should probably inform the provider of the death. However, if someone else is named on the policy, they can switch the primary holder in the event of death. It's definitely worth asking your insurance consultant for some tips on how best to set up your policy to avoid confusion if the worst comes to pass.