If my mother recently died and I need to sell her car, would the state grant me a new title in my name and can the potential buyer register the car?

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If my mother recently died and I need to sell her car, would the state grant me a new title in my name and can the potential buyer register the car?

My mother died about 6 months ago, I just found a letter from the DMV stating that her car insurance has lapsed and the license plates need to be surrendered. Needless to say I want to sell the car and have an interested party. However I do not have the title.

Asked on August 22, 2014 under Estate Planning, New York

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

I am so sorry for your loss.  There are a few missing facts here regarding your Mother's estate, namely was there an estate to probate (besides the car) and what was the value of the estate.  So I need to make some assumptions here: 1., that her estate was valued under $30,000; 2., that you are sole heir to the estate and 3., that there is no Will. That being said, you can then apply to the Surrogate's Court in the county in which she resided for appointment as the fiduciary via Voluntary Administrator's Affidavit.  You do not need an attorney to help you here. To be appointed voluntary administrator you must file an "Affidavit in Relation to Settlement of Estate Under Article 13" in the Surrogate’s Court located in the county where the decedent resided. You will also need to file an original death certificate. This website will help.  Good luck.

http://www.nycourts.gov/courthelp/diy/smallestate.html


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