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Ely
Ely, Counselor at Law
Category: Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 100053
Experience:  Fully licensed attorney in Texas in private practice.
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I live in California. My father passed away this year and my

Customer Question

Hi I live in California. My father passed away this year and my car was under his name. The car was paid off and I have the pink slip. I need to transfer the title to my name. However, the renewal registry is due and its under my father's name. Can I make the payment and later do the transfer and release of liability?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Estate Law
Expert:  Ely replied 1 year ago.

Hello and welcome to JustAnswer. Please note:This is general information and is not legal advice. No specific course of action is proposed herein, and no attorney-client relationship or privilege is formed by speaking to an expert on this site. By continuing, you confirm that you understand and agree to these terms.

I am sorry to hear about your loss. After your father passed away, did you ever file a probate action for his estate?

This is not an answer, but an information request. I need this information to answer your question. Please reply, so I can answer your question. Thank you in advance.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
No
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
The estate is under my mom's name too. I just need advise as it would be okay for myself to renew the registration on my car online since right now don't have time to go in person to DMV of CA.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
The registration is under my father name.
Expert:  Ely replied 1 year ago.

Thank you.

You cannot renew it under your own name without filing for a probate action. You can renew it under his name, but without filing a probate sooner or later, there is no way to transfer the title into your name.

When someone passes away, then their estate has to be distributed. The problem is that without probate - with assets such as titled property or bank accounts (those that do not have a pay on death clause) - this is hard to do. This is because you cannot switch over the assets without an order from the probate court, and simply a Certificate of Death will not do. A Certificate of Death simply states that someone has passed on, but does not give you the right to really do anything in the deceased's name.

So one files probate. Once probate is filed, the Executor of the estate gets something called a Letter of Testament/Administration (hereinafter "Letter"). This Letter will allow the Executor to switch over the assets from the deceased individual to whoever will own the property. It is like a "Power of Attorney," but from the Court. Without that Letter, there is no way to transfer titled property and switch the assets into the beneficiaries' names.

If there was a Will, the beneficiaries are decided per the Will. If there was no will, the beneficiaries are decided by default succession law of the state.

If he had a smaller estate, his estate may qualify for a quicker version of probate - see HERE and HERE.

Please note: If I tell you simply what you wish to hear, this would be unfair to you. I need to be honest with you and sometimes this means providing information that is not optimal. Negative ratings are reserved for experts who are rude or for erroneous information. Please rate me on the quality of my information; do not punish me for my honesty.

I hope this helps and clarifies. Please use the SEND or REPLY button to keep chatting, or please RATE when finished. You may always ask follow ups at no charge after rating. Kindly rate my answer as one of TOP THREE FACES/STARS and then SUBMIT, as this is how I get credit for my time with you. Rating my answer the bottom two faces/stars or failing to submit the rating does not give me credit and reflects poorly on me, even if my answer is correct. I work very hard to formulate an informative and honest answer for you; please reciprocate my good faith with a positive rating.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Wouldn't the assets automatically get transferred to my mom since she's the spouse survivor?
Expert:  Ely replied 1 year ago.

Not titled property like a vehicle. Unless she was already on the title for the vehicle and listed as a "joint tenant" (if one's jurisdiction even allows this with vehicles) then the title does not transfer automatically. I am guessing her name was not on the title. If not, the estate has to be probated to switch it to hers.

Gentle Reminder: Please, use REPLY or SEND button to keep chatting, or RATE POSITIVELY and SUBMIT your rating when we are finished. You may always ask follow ups at no charge after rating.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I don't believe my mom name was on the car title.
Expert:  Ely replied 1 year ago.

Right, then my answer stands as is. The title is not transferred automatically - a probate action has to be done to have this happen.

Gentle Reminder: Please, use REPLY or SEND button to keep chatting, or RATE POSITIVELY and SUBMIT your rating when we are finished. You may always ask follow ups at no charge after rating.

Expert:  Ely replied 1 year ago.

Hello again. This is a courtesy check in to see if you needed anything else in regards ***** ***** question. I am simply touching base. Let me know. Thanks!

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