What to do if my father-in-law is taking care of his brother’s estate after his unexpected passing?

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What to do if my father-in-law is taking care of his brother’s estate after his unexpected passing?

His real and personal property value is well under $150,000 but he did not have an official, notarized will. His most valuable asset is a vehicle worth approximately $12,000 to $13,000 but the car was not paid off; there are six payments left totaling around $1,300. Can my father-in-law pay off the balance and then use the DMV’s non-probate affidavit transfer procedure to transfer the vehicle into his name? Or does the finance company have a right to take possession of the vehicle because the balance was not paid in full by the original borrower?

Asked on June 24, 2013 under Estate Planning, California

Answers:

MD, Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

Someone else can pay the vehicle off and ideally it would be with the assets of the estate and then he would as his brother's estate administrator take care of the transfer of the motor vehicle to the rightful beneficiary. Most probate courts won't take issue if this has been determined specifically in the will. The biggest concern will be with the real property and proper distribution thereof.


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