If you have to sell a car of an owner who is dead, you need to know something about the laws surrounding this type of deal. This will assist you determine what happens to the vehicle once the death happens and also to determine who holds the title. Check out the advice below for an overview of what you can expect, and how you can get the title you desperately want.
The Vehicle Will Pass into the Estate
In most situations, the vehicle will pass into the estate of the deceased owner to be distributed among the rightful heirs or beneficiaries. A will, trust, or other legal document will state how property is distributed. This is the first place you should look to know whether or not you can claim legal title over the dead person’s car in order to sell it.
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If the vehicle owner dies without leaving behind a will, this is known as dying intestate. What happens in this kind of situation is that the state probates the estate of the deceased person in order to know who the living heirs are as well as any debts and liabilities that must be met or discharged. The process of probating an estate can take years for a person who dies without a will. This may make it next to impossible to sell the vehicle.
Knowing Understanding Among the Heirs
If there is a general understanding among the living heirs of the dead car owner for you to take possession of the vehicle, you may be able to sell it immediately. This agreement may be predicated, however, on the having the proceeds of the sale distributed equally among them once the sale is finished.
Working With the Trustee
An attorney posing as conservator or trustee for the estate may also be able to intercede on your behalf and assist you in the sale of the dead person’s car. This may be based on the trustee’s interest in settling the estate, or a portion of the estate in order to settle some debt or tax liability.
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State and Federal Estate Tax Liabilities
With regard to any tax liabilities, the IRS may also have an interest in having the vehicle sold in order to levy an estate tax based on the value of the estate. If the estate has a value of several millions of dollars, based on state and federal laws at the time, this may lead to a tax liability of 45 to 55 percent.
For any more detailed information, always make sure you consult an attorney. They can make sure of any and all laws that pertain to your situation, and how you can resolve issues for a quick car sale. This understanding will save you from any potential grief and other problems that may occur during this transaction.