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Gifting a car to a family relative with return upon death

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Old Son

New member
What is the name of your state? NJ & FL
I live in NJ and am the current owner of a vehicle that I wish to "loan" to my mother in FL for her to use so she can unload the car she is making payments on. This post covers several legal areas: Will, Auto Insurance, Liability, Auto Title

Here are the constraints I am dealing with:
1. FL requires the vehicle to be registered, titled, and insured in FL, all in the same name. Co-owners are permitted in either "and" or "or" form. "or" would allow me to keep ownership
2. My mothers insurance requires her name to be on the registration (can be joint with my name).
3. If I put my name, and my mothers name on the Title, both names have to be on the registration as well.

All I really want to do is loan her my car, but the FLA motor vehicle laws/rules won't allow me to keep my NJ title in my name and register & insure the car in FLA in her name.

Here are my questions:
1. If I surrender the NJ title to title the car in FL - jointly in both of our names, and she gets sued as a result of an incident with the vehicle, do/could I share any liability in a suit even though I was not present?
2. In lieu of going the joint title route, if I gift her the car (for $0), is there a way to stipulate (in a will or some other document) that I get the car back in the event that she dies before gifting it back to me.

Thanks!

Bill
 


Zigner

Senior Member, Non-Attorney
What is the name of your state? NJ & FL
I live in NJ and am the current owner of a vehicle that I wish to "loan" to my mother in FL for her to use so she can unload the car she is making payments on. This post covers several legal areas: Will, Auto Insurance, Liability, Auto Title

Here are the constraints I am dealing with:
1. FL requires the vehicle to be registered, titled, and insured in FL, all in the same name. Co-owners are permitted in either "and" or "or" form. "or" would allow me to keep ownership
2. My mothers insurance requires her name to be on the registration (can be joint with my name).
3. If I put my name, and my mothers name on the Title, both names have to be on the registration as well.

All I really want to do is loan her my car, but the FLA motor vehicle laws/rules won't allow me to keep my NJ title in my name and register & insure the car in FLA in her name.

Here are my questions:
1. If I surrender the NJ title to title the car in FL - jointly in both of our names, and she gets sued as a result of an incident with the vehicle, do/could I share any liability in a suit even though I was not present?
2. In lieu of going the joint title route, if I gift her the car (for $0), is there a way to stipulate (in a will or some other document) that I get the car back in the event that she dies before gifting it back to me.

Thanks!

Bill
You are asking for trouble all the way around. Transfer the car (by gift or sale) and be done with it. There's no reason to play all these games.
 

t74

Member
Is this a concern because there are there multiple beneficiaries of her estate and you believe the car will be a future issue?
 

Taxing Matters

Overtaxed Member
Here are my questions:
1. If I surrender the NJ title to title the car in FL - jointly in both of our names, and she gets sued as a result of an incident with the vehicle, do/could I share any liability in a suit even though I was not present?
You are not liable for any injuries she causes in an accident with the car merely because you are a joint owner of the car.

2. In lieu of going the joint title route, if I gift her the car (for $0), is there a way to stipulate (in a will or some other document) that I get the car back in the event that she dies before gifting it back to me.


A written agreement signed by you both that the car is provided to her for use during her lifetime, that she agrees not to sell or transfer the car without your consent, and that ownership of it is to revert to you upon her death will probably suffice. The car should be specifically described in the agreement, including the year, make, model, color, and VIN. That would give you a claim to the car to present to the executor of the estate to get the car back. But I think joint ownership with a right of survivorship would likely still be the better choice here.


You are asking for trouble all the way around.
I don't share that view. What horrors do you think would occur should the OP pursue, say, joint ownership?
 

LdiJ

Senior Member
What is the name of your state? NJ & FL
I live in NJ and am the current owner of a vehicle that I wish to "loan" to my mother in FL for her to use so she can unload the car she is making payments on. This post covers several legal areas: Will, Auto Insurance, Liability, Auto Title

Here are the constraints I am dealing with:
1. FL requires the vehicle to be registered, titled, and insured in FL, all in the same name. Co-owners are permitted in either "and" or "or" form. "or" would allow me to keep ownership
2. My mothers insurance requires her name to be on the registration (can be joint with my name).
3. If I put my name, and my mothers name on the Title, both names have to be on the registration as well.

All I really want to do is loan her my car, but the FLA motor vehicle laws/rules won't allow me to keep my NJ title in my name and register & insure the car in FLA in her name.

Here are my questions:
1. If I surrender the NJ title to title the car in FL - jointly in both of our names, and she gets sued as a result of an incident with the vehicle, do/could I share any liability in a suit even though I was not present?
2. In lieu of going the joint title route, if I gift her the car (for $0), is there a way to stipulate (in a will or some other document) that I get the car back in the event that she dies before gifting it back to me.

Thanks!

Bill
If your mother is healthy enough to still be driving, then how much do you imagine that the car is going to be worth when she passes? I agree with those persons who have said that you should just gift the car to your mother and leave it at that.
 

Taxing Matters

Overtaxed Member
Please see the above. They are trying to dodge a very expensive Florida tax. Title tax...
"Dodge" suggests doing something illegal. There is nothing wrong with structuring transactions to legally avoid/reduce the tax that you need to pay. I advise clients on doing exactly that pretty much every day. But the OP's statement is not that he's looking to avoid that tax as much as trying to achieve his goal given the title restrictions that the state has.
 

TrustUser

Senior Member
but it is just a car !! gosh, i dont even put my car into any sort of trust. nor do i want it there.

that raises a question, for ya - i never really looked into it, but does any state have a tod for an automobile ?

specifically, california - since i will probably die here
 

Taxing Matters

Overtaxed Member
but it is just a car !! gosh, i dont even put my car into any sort of trust. nor do i want it there.
I have clients who put their cars into their revocable living trusts, which is a good thing to do if your goal is having as little go through probate as possible and have your trust do all the work of determining who gets what. Of course, depending on the situation and the goals of the client joint ownership or a TOD title can be good too. Especially when they don't use a trust. :D
 

TrustUser

Senior Member
you may call me paranoid. but to be really honest, the main reason i dont want my car in my trust - is that i view it as something that can be a lethal weapon, causing law suits, etc. i dont want it attached to my trust, in even the slightest little bit

i doubt i will do anything with my current car, in terms of re-titling - just cuz i dont want the busy work

but now that i know i can have a tod for my car, i will go ahead and do so, should i get another car

i have a decently nice car. but it is a 2004. it plays a fairly insignificant percentage of my asset wealth, that i simply dont bother with it

and unlike real estate, and other investments - the car keeps getting to be worth less and less as time goes on

i can see getting involved if we are talking about some collector car. but the car that you drive to the store ??
 

Taxing Matters

Overtaxed Member
you may call me paranoid. but to be really honest, the main reason i dont want my car in my trust - is that i view it as something that can be a lethal weapon, causing law suits, etc. i dont want it attached to my trust, in even the slightest little bit
Yes, that strikes me as a bit...over the top. First, with a revocable living trust, if you own the car outside the trust and get a judgment against you from an accident the judgment lien holders can go after the trust assets. It will take them an extra step or two to do it, but they will be able to reach them. And second, if you have sufficient insurance you should be fine whether the car is owned by you or by the trust. I've never had a client have a problem with the car being in the trust.
 

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