If someone dies owning a car in his or her sole name and without designated beneficiaries, the vehicle will likely go through probate. Depending on the case, probate administration can be a lengthy process.
Is it possible to sell a deceased person’s car without probate in Florida? Read on to find out.
Can You Sell a Deceased Person’s Car Without Probate in Florida? – The Verdict
To sell a deceased person’s car, you need to transfer the title of the vehicle to the new owner. Any asset subject to probate cannot be transferred until the process is completed, including vehicles.
While the decedent’s car cannot go through a standard sale, other circumstances may permit the sale of the vehicle during probate.
In formal probate administration, the court must appoint a personal representative (also referred to as the “executor”) to wrap up the estate, solve any pending issues, and oversee the distribution of the remaining assets to its heirs.
Florida probate law has several provisions to protect the rights of creditors. The estate is responsible for paying the deceased’s debts, under the executor’s responsibility. In certain cases, a vehicle can be executed, and the proceeds used to settle unpaid debts.
What if the Deceased’s Car is Inherited Outside of Probate?
If the decedent died without debts, the surviving spouse or children can inherit it outside of probate.
Under Florida Statutes §735.301 (1), “no administration shall be required, or formal proceedings instituted upon the estate of a decedent leaving only personal property exempt under the provisions of Fla. Stat. §732.402.”
Florida Statutes §732.402 (1) provides that “if a decedent was domiciled in this state at the time of death, the surviving spouse, or, if there is no surviving spouse, the children of the decedent shall have the right to a share of the estate of the decedent as provided in this section, to be designated “exempt property.”
As provided by Florida Statutes §732.402 (2)(b), property exempt from probate includes “two motor vehicles (…) which do not, individually as to either such motor vehicle, have a gross vehicle weight in excess of 15,000 pounds, held in the decedent’s name and regularly used by the decedent or members of the decedent’s immediate family as their personal motor vehicles.”
In such cases, the surviving spouse or immediate heirs who inherit the vehicle can transfer it to a buyer outside of probate.
Transferring Title of a Deceased Person’s Car in Florida – An Overview
When the vehicle owner passes away, the surviving spouse, heir, or executor must apply for a new title with The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV). The documentation required in the transfer includes:
- A copy of the decedent’s will
- Application for Certificate of Title With/Without Registration (HSMV form 82040)
- The current certificate of title in the deceased’s name
- Any satisfactory proof of ownership (if a proper certificate is not available)
- A death certificate
- Proof of ID
Depending on whether the name of the surviving spouse is shown on the death certificate, the petitioner must provide a marriage certificate. If the vehicle is subject to probate, the person applying for a new title must provide a certified copy of the will and an affidavit that the estate has no unpaid debts.
Probate Does not Need to be a Stressful Experience – Consult with Your Florida Probate Lawyer Today
Immediately contact Attorneys Romy B. Jurado and Diana C. Collazos by calling (305) 921-0976 or emailing Romy@juradolawfirm.com for expert legal guidance.