Unavoidably, we all will likely need to play our role in the management of an estate at some point in our lives. One of the most trying things about acting as the executor of an estate can be attempting to sell items that no family member wants or needs. Some of the most common items that need to be sold are vehicles – classic or everyday. We’ve put together some tips below that can make selling that classic Mustang or everyday Chevy workhorse a much smoother process.
The first thing you must do to sell the vehicle belonging to a deceased person is to establish that you have the right to do so. The probate court will issue the acting executor or executors a document called a Letter of Testamentary. This is a document from the court that says you have the right to act on behalf of the estate and are cleared to sell the vehicle in question. You may want to secure several of these letters in the event that you’ll be selling more than just a single vehicle.
Clear the Liens
Once you have proof from the court that you have the authority to sell the vehicle(s), you’ll now want to ensure that the vehicle is free of any liens. Should any money still be owed on the vehicle you’ll need to clear that amount and ensure that you receive a clean title from the financing company or bank. Cars and trucks without cleared titles cannot be sold.
Sign Over the Title
Now that you’ve cleared the title, you’ll need to sign it over to the new owner. DO NOT FORGE THE DECEASED PERSON’S NAME. As executor of the estate, you can simply sign your own name on the title so long as you include a line that says “executor for the estate of ______.” This may need to be accompanies by one of the Letters of Testamentary that the probate court has given you, so be sure to double check with your local DMV to see what additional documents they may require.
In reality, selling a car or truck as the executor of an estate is not remarkably different than selling a vehicle of your own. While there are a few extra steps that need to be taken, most are easily completed with documents already provided by the probate court, or with simple phone calls to verify the status of insurance and/or vehicle liens.