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Dwayne B.
Dwayne B., Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 33938
Experience:  Began practicing law in 1992
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I sold and financed a vehicle to my daughter and her husband

Customer Question

I sold and financed a vehicle to my daughter and her husband last year. The price of the vehicle was $15,000. They gave me a down payment of $5,000 and were suppose to pay the rest in installments. I ended up gifting them the balance of $10,000 because they were struggling financially. That was about a year ago and the vehicle is still in my name. They are going through a divorce but temporary orders state my daughter will get the vehicle. I am having trouble getting her to meet with***@******.*** get the title converted to her name. I don't want any money for it I just want it out of my name and not be responsible for it should it get wrecked. They have carried insurance on it although last month I had to pay the insurance note. What are my options being she won't cooperate? Can I go and take the vehicle, can I remove the tags or something of this sort until she gets it in her name?
JA: What state is this in? And how old is the car?
Customer: It is in Texas, Montgomery County and it is a 2014 Rav 4.
JA: Has anything been filed or reported?
Customer: No
JA: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: No, I think I have covered most of it.
Submitted: 1 month ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Dwayne B. replied 1 month ago.

Hello and thank you for contacting us. This is Dwayne B. and I’m an expert here and looking forward to assisting you today.

Expert:  Dwayne B. replied 1 month ago.

Please allow me several minutes to read your facts and type my response.

If you receive an email regarding a phone call for an extra price that comes directly from the website and not from me and I have no control over the sending of the email. I don't take part in the telephone program and only work through this format and under your facts this format should be sufficient.

Expert:  Dwayne B. replied 1 month ago.

If the vehicle is still in your name then you can certainly take possession of it, put it on blocks, store it in a warehouse, remove the tags, or whatever else you would like to do.

At this point in time, you have what is known as legal title and that means "the vehicle is still in your name"; although your daughter would have what is know as equitable title which means "she has an interest in the vehicle based on something other than her name being on the title". However, with equitable title she would have to get a court order to establish that assuming that you did not agree.

As far as the court entering a temporary order giving her the rights to the vehicle, since you were not a party to the divorce the court's order is not binding on you anyway.

As a practical matter, I would advise that you not go and try to take the vehicle yourself. I have never heard of anyone trying that without some type of problem arising. You should be able to hire a local wrecker service or repo company to go pickup the vehicle and bring it to you. While that may cost you a little, it usually is not very expensive. It is worth it to avoid any potential trouble.

If your question has been answered then I'd offer my best wishes to you and ask that you please not forget to leave a 5 Star Positive Rating so I receive credit for my work. Of course, please feel free to ask any follow-up questions in this thread. I want to be sure all of your questions are answered.

Customer: replied 1 month ago.
I don't need to hire a local attorney to handle this, I can just have the vehicle picked up? And am I correct to assume I am responsible for any accidents as long as the vehicle is in my name?
Expert:  Dwayne B. replied 1 month ago.

That is correct on both accounts. You can hire the local attorney and have the hire the repo company and that provides you with a level of protection if something goes wrong. For instance, if the repo company ran into the garage door while repossessing the car, ran over a fence, got into a fight with the ex, etc. It is not required that you hire an attorney but it may be something you at least want to consider so that you are absolutely safe.

You are correct that if they have a wreck while the car is in your name you are going to be sued under a theory of law known as "negligent entrustment". It doesn't mean they will win but there is virtually 100% chance you will be sued.

If your question has been answered then I'd offer my best wishes to you and ask that you please not forget to leave a 5 Star Positive Rating so I receive credit for my work. Of course, please feel free to ask any follow-up questions in this thread. I want to be sure all of your questions are answered.