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Selling a Vehicle You Inherited: Your Complete Guide

Marc Skirvin
Marc Skirvin

What's in this Article

If you have a deceased relative, many will have properties they will give to family. It can be anything from some cash, some items or even a home.

The average inheritance of Americans net at around $177,000. This can be more or less, depending on the wealth of the relative. Some of these inheritances can come in the form of a vehicle.

Some people who inherit a car will use it. Many, however, will not want it and would like to dispose of it. Selling a vehicle has different processes, especially if it’s something you inherit.

We’ll guide you in this article on how you can sell your inherited vehicle. These differ from state to state, but some major details should be the same.

Take a look at your options here.

1. Consider the Details of the Will

First, you want to answer the question of the will. You want to determine first if the deceased assigned the vehicle in your name in their last will. Depending on this part, you would need to pass a few extra steps to title the car.

If the will of the deceased specifies your name, the executor of the estate can assign the title to the name of the beneficiary. Some documents would need filing too.

If there is no specification of inheritance, the probate court would handle the case. 

If there is no will, the deceased has died “intestate”. Probate court will handle their properties. This includes the distribution of inheritance.

For those who don’t have any wills, you would need to wait for probate court. The estate would need to undergo this process and the court will produce details of the proceedings. Wait until you can get certified copies of the Letters of Testamentary or Letters of Administration.

2. Prepare the Title Transfer Process

Now, you need to start working on titling the inherited vehicle that you have. First, determine if there are any liens that may exist for the vehicle. If a lien exists, pay the balance to get a “free and clear of lien” note for the vehicle.

Next, you would want to get liability insurance under your name if you’re the heir. This is to protect you from any issues later on and help people see the value of the vehicle. Selling a vehicle would need your name on the insurance.

Now, your next move would be to talk to a country tax assessor to properly calculate the fees you have to pay. Consider if the vehicle itself needs renewal, inspection or registration from the state itself.

You want to accomplish the state’s title ownership procedure by completing different ownership forms. These will act as your application for Certificate of Title for the vehicle itself. You would want to follow all the listed instructions to make sure everything is in order.

Sign the forms in the presence of a notary public. Wait for the probate courts to complete their assessment. If there are different heirs, everyone needs to sign an affidavit of heirship. Make sure you ask the notary to stamp and seal the documents for you.

3. Start Transfer of the Vehicle Under Your Name

Now that you have everything ready, it’s time to transfer the vehicle title to yourself. Again, go to your local county tax assessor/collector with the estate’s executor. Pay the fees needed to start the title transfer procedure.

You need to submit most of the documents that you received over the different stages of the process. This includes:

  • Application for Certificate of Title
  • Certified copy of Letters of Testamentary, or
  • Certified copy of Letters of Administration
  • Affidavit of Heirship of Motor Vehicle
  • Proof of your liability insurance
  • Proof of vehicle inspection passing
  • Valid driver’s license for you and the executor
  • Vehicle Registration Receipt

All these documents will start the process and would lead to a full title transfer to your name.

4. Start the Selling Process

From this point, you own the car you inherited from an estate. To sell the car, you would need to follow a title transfer again and allow for the process. This includes accomplishing everything listed on the last few steps.

If you are the confirmed heir of the vehicle, you can either title the car to yourself and sell. You can also ask the executor to sell it for you through the estate.

For those who sell it through the estate, the buyers should sign the title. The executor will furnish them with a copy of the Letters of Testamentary. Buyers would also need to complete the title application process.

There will be some extra documents that you need to accomplish in some states. This includes Statement of Facts and an Odometer Disclosure Statement. This goes together with second transfer fees and the bill of sale from the heir(s) to the buyer.

Again, if there are any existing liens or security interests, they need to undergo releasing. All buyers must also present a valid local drivers’ license. Buyers should also pay for a specific title fee, which should be around $18 – $20.

If there are many heirs to the vehicle, all the heirs need to sign off the repair. Much like any car, if you need updated plates, you need to follow procedures in doing so. You would need to pass emissions testing, local insurance, and valid driver’s license or ID cards.

Why Suffer These Headaches When Selling A Vehicle?

When selling a vehicle you inherited, you would need to follow specific steps to clear the inheritance. You would then need to work towards titling the vehicle to you and sell the vehicle to a buyer. This is a long process that needs to accomplish a long, grueling process for everyone.

Want to skip most of the work selling your inherited vehicle? There are companies that will buy cars from you. If you have an older car or you want to skip many formalities, you need someone you can trust.

We offer to buy cars at any condition for a fair price. All you need to do is fill out this form, see the offer, and accept or decline the offer. No waiting, no complicated documents.

Talk to us now and discover which options you have today.

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About the Author


Marc is the Co-Founder of Cash Auto Salvage and Director of daily operations. He retired from a leading Internet Marketing company in 2013 and has been involved in the automotive industry ever since.

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