My grandfather still “owns” my truck but he died last year, what doI do now that it’s totaled?

UPDATED: Feb 18, 2011

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My grandfather still “owns” my truck but he died last year, what doI do now that it’s totaled?

My grandfather’s name is on the title, but I made all the payments and paid the insurance, which has always been in my name. Now that I totaled the truck in last week’s ice. the insurance has offered a settlement but they want to talk to him. If I tell them he is dead, and that the Will is tied up until other issues are settled so I can’t get the title in my name yet, how will that affect the settlement?

Asked on February 18, 2011 under Accident Law, Texas


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

You need to speak with an attorney before doing anything and do it right away. There are several serious issues here:

1) It's not your truck if the title was in your grandfather's name--it was his truck. Making payments, etc. does not automatically give you a right to the truck; for example, family members often help out or pay for other family members. There are circumstances in which having made payments may given you an interest in or claim on the truck, but remember: on the face of it, the person whose name is on the title owns it.

2) You may have committed insurance fraud, depending on exactly what was represented to the insurance company when you took out the policy about ownership, primary driver, other drivers in household, etc. At the least, you may have given the insurer grounds to contest paying.

3) Getting back to point 1: if someone other than you will inherit from your grandfather, whomever inherits may certainly fight any claim you try to make on or to the truck.


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