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Thomas McJD
Thomas McJD, Attorney
Category: Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 3170
Experience:  Wills, Trusts, Probate & other Estate Matters
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My Aunt who became deceased on January 16, 2016 had left her

Customer Question

My Aunt who became deceased on January 16, 2016 had left her car, 2005 Ford Five Hundred in my possession since January 2014 after she had gained ownership after a probate settlement. Her first cousin, Mrs. Eva G. Burns, had signed over her Title to her before her passing. Now that my Aunt has passed, I still have the vehicle and her only living child, Daun R. Cornelious, has the Title in his possession and feel that because he is the next to kin living he should be awarded this vehicle. My Aunt has said before her death on several ocassions that if anything ever happens to her, she wants me to have this car. She did have a Living Will, but was never amended to add this vehicle in it. Also, her Will was never probated like it was supposed to have been. Now because of her Son's irresponsiblity to handle his Mom's Will properly and pay her bills like he should have, my Aunt's home has been repossessed and all assets that were bequeached to said mentioned persons in her Will have been removed from her estate. As I had mentioned, the Will was never probated like it should have been. Now back to the vehicle mentioned, do I have any rights to ownership since I have been taking care of this car by paying for the car tag, insurance, new tires, new battery, oil changes, etc. If not, how can I be reimbursed for all the expenses I have incurred from March 2014 to current?
Submitted: 4 months ago.
Category: Estate Law
Expert:  Loren replied 4 months ago.

Good afternoon. I am Loren, a licensed attorney, and I look forward to assisting you. My condolences for your loss.

How was the car titled at the time of your aunt's death?

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
Frances G. Cornelious
Expert:  Loren replied 4 months ago.

Is that your late aunt?

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
No, I prefer texting. I do not want to continue to pay if I am not satisfied with your response. Before you received my $47, it stated only if I was satisfied I would have to pay. What if I am not? Do I get reimbursed? I am not feeling satisfied at this moment because you are asking for a phone call to pay for more money after asking me about the Title. If this is all I am getting, please reimbursed me my $47 now. I no longer want further responses from you.
Expert:  Loren replied 4 months ago.

The phone call offer is automatically generated by the site. It was not from me.

Did you still want an answer to your question? If yes, please confirm that the car was titled to your aunt when she died.

Otherwise, I will move on to other customers and you can move on with your day.

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
Please reimburse my $47. No further responses. I do not appreciated your tone in your email to me.
Expert:  Loren replied 4 months ago.

If the car was titled to your aunt when she died then it is now the property of her estate. However, until someone actually opens an estate or takes any action to marshal her assets you can retain possession of the car. Once the estate is opened and a representative appointed, you will need to return the car to them upon their demand. You have no right to it, regardless of your late aunt's wishes, unless she changed the title to you before she died. Otherwise, her expressed last wishes are not legally relevant if not memorialized in a last will and testament.

You can make a claim against the estate for the maintenance of the vehicle if there was an agreement that you were to be reimbursed.

One snag you may run into while you retain possession is the the insurance. I am not sure how you would insure a vehicle where the title holder is deceased. You will need to work that out with your insurance agent if you will be driving the car.

Expert:  Loren replied 4 months ago.

I realize this is probably not the answer you were hoping to receive. Also, please remember that this is not a moral judgement on my part. As a professional, however, I am sometimes placed in the position of having to deliver news which is not favorable to a customer's legal position, but accurately reflects their position under the law. I hate it, but it happens and I only ask that you not penalize me with a bad or poor rating for having to deliver less than favorable news.