What is the penalty for selling a vehicle that’s not legally mine?

I sold my deceased husband’s truck without his children signing off on it. There was no Will, so

all his belongings were intestate and therefore seeking the truck was illegal. What crime could I be facing?

Asked on December 29, 2017 under Estate Planning, Texas


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

You committed theft: you stole something that belonged (at least in part) to others. There is a reasonable chance the authorities will not choose to charge you but will feel instead this is best handled by the civil courts (i.e. by his children suing you for the value of the truck), since it is intrafamily and a claim could be made that you lacked criminal intent (but rather misunderstood your rights in this situation), but be aware that you did technically commit auto theft, something punishable by jail time.

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