Changing the title of 2 cars after a death

ThundyrkatzThundyrkatz Registered User regular
edited August 2017 in Help / Advice Forum
Hey everyone!

Background: in April, my dad passed away and I am trying to sort things out for my mom. My mom is the executor of the estate, and there is a will that bequeaths everything to my mom that is not being contested, but has not been probated. So far this has not been a problem. I have most of the stuff worked out, but i'm having some trouble with the cars. My parents own 1 car, a Subaru and are making payments on a second car, a Chrysler Van. Both were in my dads name, but we can not locate the title on the Subaru. Oh yeah... we live in NH.

The plan is to move both of them out of my fathers name and into my mothers name, and then ultimately we want to sell both of them and buy another car outright.

So the Subaru... we went to the local town hall and asked for a new title in my moms name. We were told to order a duplicate title in my dads name (and given the form), and then take that title back to them and request that the title be reissued in my moms name. This seems ridiculous, has anyone done this before? Is this really the best way to do this?

The Chrysler... Since we don't own this, we were told to contact Chrysler and let them know that my dad was dead and that my mom was taking over the loan. That seems fairly strait forward. But I had a thought, and wondered if anyone who works at a dealership or has done this could answer for me. The question is... Can we skip this step? Since we want to sell the car will the dealership take the car in a trade if we show them a death certificate or something?

As a side note, I am not interested in doing a private sale for the Chrysler. My mom lives 2 hours away from me and can not handle showing the van to prospective buyers and I can't run back and forth to facilitate a private sale either.

Thanks for everyone's help!

Thundyrkatz on


  • DjeetDjeet Registered User regular
    edited August 2017
    Both the state and any dealership you want to trade-in a vehicle to will want some kind of documentation. The title is usually what is wanted, though for the Subaru it's possible that a lien-release letter would be sufficient (edit: though if you don't have the title, it's unlikely you'll have the lien-release letter). I think the advice you've been given is going to be the easiest way to accomplish what you want to do, though it's going to take time (several weeks).

    Djeet on
  • zepherinzepherin Registered User regular
    edited August 2017
    we went through this with my grandpa.

    You have to re-title it and register it under the person who owns it. In our case, we had the estate title it under the estate as a legal entity and then borrow money from the estate to pay off the loan, and sell the car to reimburse the estate. A lawyer walked the executor through doing this, cause grand pa had money, but also had loans and tax obligations, some of the stuff they are still sorting through 9 years later. That part was easy by comparison.

    zepherin on
  • a5ehrena5ehren AtlantaRegistered User regular
    They probably are not allowed re-title the Subaru to your mom without having a title in your dad's name in-hand. It sucks, but it probably saves more headaches than it causes.

  • ThundyrkatzThundyrkatz Registered User regular
    Bureaucracy at its finest I suppose. OK, Sounds like its just a matter of going through the steps like everything else and being patient, oh well.

  • ShadowfireShadowfire Vermont, in the middle of nowhereRegistered User regular
    Yeah, we had to get a duplicate title when we were living in NH in order to sell our car after the bank never sent the original. It's an extra step, but like above, it prevents headaches down the line.

    Sorry to hear about your father. :bro:

    WiiU: Windrunner ; Guild Wars 2: Shadowfire.3940 ; PSN: Bradcopter
  • ThundyrkatzThundyrkatz Registered User regular
    Thanks Shadowfire, appreciate that.

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