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Daniel P.
Daniel P., Attorney
Category: Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 2742
Experience:  I have my own practice in Sarasota, FL- Estate Planning, Medicaid & VA law, Probate & Family Law
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Transfer the Car Title of a Deceased Person

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I bought a car from my aunt today, It was her sons but he passed away 1 week ago. He left no will. How do i go about transfering the car title to my name. I read i have to go to a
probate court (bronx)and then they will appoint a someone who will administer the estate to the heirs after paying out the debts of the deceased person. (how much do they cahrge of this , an estimate)
The car was payed in full but I do not know if he had any sort of debts.if so what happens then?
what stemps should i take

Thank you for entrusting me with your legal issue. I will work diligently and quickly to answer your questions. I look forward to assisting you.


Contact the department of motor vehicles. If the only asset he had was the car, you won't need to go through the expense and time involved with probate.


The Department of motor vehicles can transfer the car with you with a death certificate and an affidavit that they will have you complete.



Customer: replied 7 years ago.
"Let me ask in another way just to make sure that the answer applies to my case"1) My uncle died a week ago and left no will. His mother took charge of all his beongings including an old car (97 subaru) which she sold to me for very little money. What steps should I take to register the car and swap the title to my name, considering the fact that the state automatically owns any property left behind after death when a will does not exist or hiers were not appointed?

More info: He (uncle) did leave as beneficiary to his life-insurrance: his son, (in case that information helps). Can those documents be enough to appoint his son as an hier and then have his son be the seller of the car?

Under NY laws, if someone passes away without a will his estate will be distributed as follows:


If a decedent is survived by:


(1) A spouse and issue, fifty thousand dollars and one-half of the residue to the spouse, and the balance thereof to the issue by representation.

(2) A spouse and no issue, the whole to the spouse.

(3) Issue and no spouse, the whole to the issue, by representation.


I assume the aunt you are referring to was your uncle's wife. In which case, she received from the estate $50,000 plus 1/2 of the rest of the estate. So she had authority to sell you that car.


The following is from the NY department of motor vehicles website:


Surviving Spouse or Immediate Family Transfer

  1. If the vehicle is worth equal to or less than $15,000, it automatically goes to the surviving spouse or child under age 21 (in which case, the guardian will complete these next steps.)
  2. Fill out the Application for Title form at any DMV office.
  3. Sign the title over to yourself, writing "spouse" under the signature; or "guardian" in the case of a child.
  4. Pay $50 for a new title (cash, check, or credit.)
  5. You get a credit for the remainder of the registration time (no need to re-register) and you get to keep the plates.

If you're the spouse and wish to transfer the title to someone else, then:

  1. Get the Affidavit for Transfer of Motor Vehicle notarized.
  2. Give the new owner a death certificate copy.
  3. The new owner takes the notarized form and the copy of the death certificate to the DMV, applies for a new title, and pays the $50 fee.
  4. The new owner must also register the car.
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