If before my father died he wanted to transfer his car over to me but he passed away before doing so, what can I do?

My father didn’t have much property when he died so nothing had to go through probate. Currently, I am in possession of his car. I never found a car title but I know that the car was fully paid for. I would like to transfer the car over to my name. However, the vehicle registration has his ex-wife on it he never got around to taking her name off who lives on the other side of the country. How am I suppose to go about transferring the vehicle to my name, without a title, and without getting his ex-wife involved?

Asked on August 30, 2015 under Estate Planning, California


M.H., Member, California Bar / M.H., Member, California Bar

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

If you don't have title to the vehicle, you can submit an application to the DMV for duplicate title.  Since your father's estate was not probated, you can execute the DMV form Affidavit for Transfer without probate of Vehicle.  However, you may have a problem since the ex-wife's name is still on title.  In short, the affidavit cannot be used to defeat the ex-wife's interest in the vehicle.  You should contact the ex-wife and ask her to sign and release her interest in the vehicle.  You as the son would then succeed ownership of the vehicle and would then be able to use the aformentioned affidavit. 

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.