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Ask Lane Your Own Question
Category: Business Law
Satisfied Customers: 10504
Experience:  JD (Law Degree), CFP, Master's Degree, Finance & 30 years experience providing business advice
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My mother owns a building and land that she was renting to a

Customer Question

My mother owns a building and land that she was renting to a business. The owner of the business passed away. No one from his family has claimed the business or the assets. My mother now has a judgment awarding her the contents. As part of this property, there is a van. She has found out there is a tax lien on the vehicle (we are in the state of Indiana) and because of this she can not get a title to the vehicle. What options does she have?
JA: The Accountant will know how to help. Is there anything else the Accountant should be aware of?
Customer: Not that I'm aware of
Submitted: 18 days ago.
Category: Business Law
Expert:  Lane replied 18 days ago.

Please don't shoot the messenger, but she really only has three options:


(1) Sell the vehicle and pay the lien holder under derivative title (meaning that the party holding the lien stands in line first to collect the debt (taxes here) from the sales proceeds - and that will happen when title changes. DMV will issue title after the lien has been paid, and she will receive any money left over from the sales price.


Depending on the fair market value/sales price of the van, this may be the best option.


(2) Turn the title over TO the state/municipality and they will sell at auction and if there is money over and above the lien amount, she would receive the remainder


(3) Do nothing, essentially abandon the van, and eventually the state/municipality will impound and sell (and again... likely not at the sale price she might get in a private party sale if the van's in good shape ... she will receive any excess from the auction sale over the amount of the lien AND impound charges (typically VERY steep) if any.


Again, so sorry to be the messenger, but under the debtor/creditor law of your state, what she received in the judgment was unencumbered interests in the assets. The lien holder (under the debtor/creditor legal doctrine of derivative title) stands in line first for any sales proceeds.

Expert:  Lane replied 18 days ago.

Sorry, didn't delineate the most obvious option (paying the lien herself). If she has a use for the van or it can be used to generate income, OR to give herself time to get the best sales price, THIS MIGHT make the most sense.

Expert:  Lane replied 18 days ago.

I hope you’ll rate me (using those stars, or faces on your screen, by clicking submit) based on thoroughness and accuracy, rather than any good news / bad news content.

Otherwise I’ll receive no compensation for the work here at all, from JustAnswer.

Thank you!


I hold a law degree, with concentration in Tax Law, Estate law & Corporate law, an MBA, with specialization in finance a BBA, and CFP & CRPS designations, as well - I’ve been providing financial, Social Security/Medicare, estate, corporate, non-profit, and tax advice, to clients on three continents since 1986

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