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Gerald, Esq
Gerald, Esq, Lawyer
Category: Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 3740
Experience:  30 years of experience
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My mother passed away without a will or power of attorney

Customer Question

my mother passed away without a will or power of attorney and her van is undrivable and needs to scrapped. she did not sign the title over before she died, and i have been trying to obtain a lost title because i do not know where the original is. i found out that my moms ex husband is on the title from my local dmv. they were divorced in 1998 and in the divorce hearings mom was given the van. she did not however get my stepfathers name removed from the title. so does that mean that he is the owner by default now? because i have to get my moms van moved from my driveway or i will be in a code violation with the city i live in.
Submitted: 10 months ago.
Category: Estate Law
Expert:  Asad Rahman replied 10 months ago.

I am sorry for your loss. There is an ambiguity since the title says it is his but the divorce decree said it was hers. To avoid having to probate her estate and go through the intestacy process, you could contact him and get a release from him or see if he will transfer the title so you can get this resolved.

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
i dont want the van. it is completely undrivable. what is meant by probating her estate?
Expert:  Asad Rahman replied 10 months ago.

Well when there is not a will then you go through the probate process wherein a court assists in analyzing the assets and liabilities of the estate and grants each item to the parties pursuant to the law in Illinois when there is no will. If you do not want it, then you can certainly ask him to take care of it but he may challenge it so if you need to get it scrapped then he should transfer title to you.

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
there is no probate process because my mother didnt have assets. she was living on my grandfathers estate. all she had was the van and personal items.
Expert:  Asad Rahman replied 10 months ago.

I see, in that case, then either have him get it scrapped since title is in his name or you ask him to transfer title to you.

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
there is one other thing. i also found out that there was a lean on the van. he is not aware that his name is ***** ***** title, or the lean on the van. the only reason that i was trying to get the title was because to tow it you need the title. in that process is when i found out that its still in his name. i dont want the van its crap. i should not be liable for it.
Expert:  Asad Rahman replied 10 months ago.

You are not personally liable for it, but since there is an ambiguity in the divorce decree and the actual title then he will argue that the divorce decree is valid over the title. I'm simply advising on how to avoid a legal fight with this guy to resolve this matter.

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
im only getting charged for this conversation right? i charged with my card like 58 bucks. there wont be any other concurrent charges to my card?
Expert:  Asad Rahman replied 10 months ago.

There shouldn't be. If you get charged more than that just notify customer service.

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
if i have him sign it over then wouldnt it make me responsible for the lean?
Expert:  Asad Rahman replied 10 months ago.

Just have him transfer it to the estate not to you directly.

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
will that cost extra?
Expert:  Asad Rahman replied 10 months ago.

I don't think so.

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
it says 59 bucks on my screen.
Expert:  Asad Rahman replied 10 months ago.

that is if you want to talk by phone. we don't need to do that at this point I think.

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
ok. so if i get him to sign the title to me, would that make me liable for the lean?
Expert:  Asad Rahman replied 10 months ago.

Yes, pretty much hence I recommend he transfer it to the estate.

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
you recommend to have me be liable for this lean that i knew nothing about?
Expert:  Asad Rahman replied 10 months ago.

No, I'm telling you how not to be liable. If you get title to the car directly to you then yes you would be responsible for the lien, but if you transfer it to the "estate of your mother' then you are not personally liable.

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
he doesnt have a duplicate title. all i have that he could sign is this secretary of state affirmation of correction form. which would require my signature.
Expert:  Asad Rahman replied 10 months ago.

but it is in his name so you need to sign a transfer of title to your mother's estate.

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
i dont understand what estate?
Expert:  Asad Rahman replied 10 months ago.

It is just a legal term for the deceased. Even a deceased person's "estate" owns property and owed people money.

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
ok. so how do i get a title transfer without a title?
Expert:  Asad Rahman replied 10 months ago.

I am going to log out so one of our other experts can help.

Expert:  Gerald, Esq replied 10 months ago.

Hello,

Thank you for using Just Answer. I want to provide you the best service I can. Please feel free to ask any follow up questions you have.

I am an attorney with 30 years of experience; I hope to provide you information that will help you in resolving your question.

There is an easier way to handle this without the need to deal with the title or the scrap yard directly. Park the Van on the street and call the local police and tell them that the Van is abandoned and that it needs to be towed. The authorities will tag the Van and place an abandoned notice on it. After a few days they will arrange for the vehicle to be towed. Since the Van is titled to your mother's ex-husband any search of the VIN will lead there not to you.

Here is the law on Abandoned Vehicles:

http://www.bushnell.illinois.gov/BPD/html/_DATA/TITLE10/Chapter_10_20_ABANDONED_VEHICL.html

I hope the information I provide is useful to you. I want you to be comfortable and satisfied with my attempt to assist you. Please, if you have ANY follow up questions, feel free to ask. Please note that I am generally unavailable Friday evening through Sunday.

Please do not forget to give me a positive rating. It adds nothing to your costs but it helps me greatly. Thank you.

If you are dissatisfied with my response PLEASE let me know before giving me a negative review so that I may try to be of better assistance. Or if you prefer, let me know and I can “Opt Out” and your question can be re-posted without additional cost to you. I will be fair to you and only ask the same from you.

Good luck.

Please note: Information is educational and not given as legal advice. Only your local attorney can give legal advice. I can't establish or accept an attorney-client relationship with you. All posts are available for public viewing.

Kind regards,

Gerald

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