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Need Advice....well legal advice


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Hey guys this isn't a technical question but I'm trying to get as much input as I can to figure this out. I've bought cars privately before and never had a problem. This time I found a truck that is a fixer upper a 99 Silverado Z71. Mechanically it's OK but it has some rust issues which I can get fixed at a fair price. This is where it gets complicated. The guy selling the truck is not the registered owner. The guy on the ownership is supposetly deceased. The ownership is signed by the executer of the estate. According to the the DMV I can register the vehicle in my name no problem however they say if someone comes forward down the road it could become a legal matter. They said everything looks legit but they can't confirm anything. I now got the guy to agree the register the car into his name where he will have to pay tax to do so. Then I will purchase the truck off him. My question is will that put me in the clear? If there is someone out there who would want to claim this truck as theirs can they go after me? In my understanding they would have to deal with the guy Im buying it from. Right now the truck is not stolen or any liens or nothing. I'm just nervous something just doesn't feel right. Any input is always appreciated.

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I would certainly think that if he puts it in his name and you buy it from him, you are in the clear. You could always ask for a copy of the death certificate as well, but I don't think you'd need it if you buy it from him.

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In the end The tittle NEEDS to be in your name

transfering to sellers not your problem, he can spend the day at DMV sorting it out, maybe keep him company. and do all at once... some states this will be easy ...NY, NJ, Ca, forgetaboutit...

PS: these are good trucks, much help available for working them, let me know

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If in fact the guy is the executor of the Estate, and can produce a document from the court stating that he is the executor, then, you won't have a problem, and it can go directly into your name. If he doesn't have court documents then, be wary - I'm a California lawyer, and don't know the procedures in Canada, but, he should be able to produce something from the court, which you should keep a copy of, to show that he has the right to sell the truck. In addition, there is probably a lawyer for the Estate, and you can verify with the lawyer that the executor has the right to sell the truck. Make a check, or cashier's check, payable to Estate of _____(dead person)_______ only, not to the guy you're dealing with.

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I happen to be going through this currently as well. However, from the other side.

Here are the facts for Nova Scotia, Canada.

The vehicle cannot be legally sold under the deceased name.

The executor or administrator of the estate must first register the vehicle to the deceased estate.

The executor or administrator must have when transferring at DMV....

- Court document showing legally they are the executor or administrator.

- Have a copy of the death certificate.

- Have legitimate title to vehicle in the deceased name.

At this point the DMV will issue the title to the estate of......

Then the executor or administrator can then sell the vehicle.

The revenue from the vehicle then becomes the property of the estate. It's my understanding

that if there are any outstanding financial claims against the estate, (vehicle) then they get in line and

take whet ever is available (or percentage) of the estate.

Funeral expenses are always paid first, then the creditors get what's left.

If the executor is trying to sell the vehicle directly, then the estate would have no knowledge of

the revenue. At that point the executor could pocket the money and not report it to the estate.

I'm not saying they are trying to do this.

Hope this helps.


2008 STS V8
2016 Colorado Z71
1970 Corvette LT-1 Coupe

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wow thanks guys for all the input. I have decided and told the guy that I'm gonna pass on this truck. Something about this just doesn't feel right to me. First of all the guy is NOT the executuer of the estate. The deceased sister in law was. Supposetly she signed the sellers part of the ownership so that this guy can register the truck for himself, as he claims the uncle wanted. However he found out that he will have to pay taxes on the truck so he didn't bother. Now he's selling the truck. The part that I don't understand is that he refuses to get the family involved. If I could just talk to the executer and see some paperwork I would feel alot better about the whole thing, as far as I know the uncle could still be alive and this guy is just trying to get a few grand in his pocket. Maybe I'm just paronoid... he might be completely honest and I'm missing out on a deal here, but at least I can sleep peacefully tonight, instead of worrying that someone is gonna show up at my door tommorow asking for their truck back :)

The biggest surprise to me was the attitutude at the DMV, they didn't seem give a darn about this...they said they're just there to do the paperwork and collect taxes, they say if either party is lying then that would have to be a legal matter afterwards if someone was to claim the truck down the road... I always felt that they ran a tight ship... I can't believe they just take your word that the guy is dead because he walks in with a letter (written with a pen signed by the supposet executer of the estate ) and a signed copy of the ownership by the executer and they just say oh yeah no problem...here's you new ownership... I think they should ask for the death cert, the executer should be there in person signing the paperwork and having a document proving that he is the executer...don't just say if either party is lying then you're just gonna have to settle it in court... well whatever nothing I can do about it, better safe then sorry i guess....thanks again.

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Matt, I think you're doing the right thing - especially with the man not having executor papers - alot of times in my work, the "doesn't feel right" quotient has served my clients well.

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I agree, forget about this one. I wouldn't go near anything that sounds fishy or may end up being nothing but a big headache. He may not want the family to know because he may not have authority to sell the truck or someone in the family may claim entitlement to some of the proceeds. At any rate, since you can't verify all is clean it's best to move on.

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Sorry I came in late -- my computer lost NTLDR Tuesday night and I'm just now getting everything back together.

I think that since you're not talking to the executor you are right not to buy the car. One bit of belated advice is to ask your insurance agent what he thinks of the deal, and if the comprehensive coverage includes title problems for this truck. I've always had good luck asking insurance agents for advice on matters like this.

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