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Ely
Ely, Counselor at Law
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 99982
Experience:  Private practice with focus on family, criminal, PI, consumer protection, and business consultation.
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My husband died in Dec 2014. We lived in Tennessee. He had

Customer Question

My husband died in Dec 2014. We lived in Tennessee. He had bought a car for me, but it was in his name. I have moved to TX and I am still paying on the car. I can't qualify for a new loan on the car and I don't see how I can register it.
Submitted: 10 months ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Ely replied 10 months ago.

Hello and welcome to JustAnswer. Please note: This is general information only for educational purposes only, 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 very sorry for your loss.

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 beneficiary's name.

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 your husband did not leave a large estate, his estate may qualify for small estate administration which is simpler. See HERE and HERE for examples and information.

This should allow you to transfer the name on the vehicle into yours.

I hope this helps and clarifies. Gentle Reminder: 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 the 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.

Expert:  Ely replied 10 months ago.
Hello again. I am checking in because you have not rated positively. To me this means you may have another question. Please let me know – I am simply touching base. Thanks!

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