Vehicle Ownership After Death
Vehicles are considered part of an estate when a person passes. What happens to ownership of the vehicles after death is determined via will, titles, probate laws and whether there are any liens on the vehicle.
Joint Tenants with Right of Survivorship
If the vehicle title has a joint owner or verbiage on the title includes “joint tenants with right of survivorship” then that owner is entitled to the vehicle and assumes all debts remaining on that vehicle. The remaining tenant claims ownership by presenting a copy of the death certificate and a new title request to the vehicle registration office.
If There is a Will
If a beneficiary of a vehicle is listed in the will, then some states will allow transfer of ownership by filing an affidavit, avoiding probate. The new owner assumes all costs associated with the transfer of ownership, including any remaining debts.
Vehicles & Probate
If there isn’t a will, then intestacy applies, which designates ownership of the vehicle to a spouse, child, parent or other family member. Some states require all property of the deceased go through probate, including the vehicle, to satisfy any remaining debts. Other states allow bypassing the probate process by writing an affidavit to transfer ownership to a beneficiary.
Debt & Registration
Regardless of how or when transfer of vehicle ownership is done, it’s important to keep payments current and to register the title in the new owner’s name. If the family intends to keep the vehicle and assume the debt, it is important to communicate with the lender about the death and how to proceed moving forward. Other options are to return the car or sell it at auction, and apply the proceeds against what’s owed.
Other Things to Know
In some cases, Credit Life Disability Insurance is obtained at the time of vehicle purchase, which takes care of outstanding balances. This is particularly beneficial to know before assuming debt or selling the car to pay off debt.
Keep Everything Straight
Create a My Life & Wishes account and eliminate the guesswork for loved ones. Secure your vehicle title, will, loan and insurance information so the only thing your family needs to take care of is your memory.
Probate is the court process by which a WILL is proved valid or invalid. If there is no Will, it is the legal process where the estate is administered after someone dies. In the absence of a Will the court appoints a Personal Representative to administrator the deceased persons estate. This Representative is responsible for locating any assets and determining their value.
Statistics show that as many as 9 out of 10 Americans may have unclaimed money waiting to be discovered! It's estimated that almost $40 billion dollars in unclaimed cash or abandoned accounts exist in the United States today. Is some of that yours?
Most of us have participated in emergency drills – usually weather related and usually at work or school. But what happens if an emergency strikes while you’re at home? Does your family have a plan to evacuate or hunker down? What about preparing your neighborhood, apartment building or block on what to do if a disaster strikes your community?
September is National Preparedness Month! While we can never predict when or where the next disaster will occur, we can be sure they are coming. Being proactive and preparing ahead of time can save countless hours of trying to react at the last minute. It is simply the smart thing to do! So how do you get started and what things should you think about doing before the next disaster strikes? Here are 6 tips to get you started: