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Question about car title after death

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What is the name of your state? NY, NC, NH

My mother-in-law lived in NC where her car is titled. She spent her last 9 months or so in hospice living in NH where my sister-in-law was/ is her power of attorney. I live in NY.

My mother-in-law was giving us her car so the plan was for my sister-in-law to get a copy of the title and the keys sent to her and one of them would sign it over to me. Unfortunately my mother-in-law died 4/2. The copy of the title didn't end up getting issued until 4/10 and it is in my mother-in-law's name. My sister-in-law thought she could just sign the title but it has a spot for the signature to be notarized.

Neither one of us know what to do now. We thought we knew what we needed to do... sister-in-law signs back, I take title to DMV and get temporary tags, go down and get the car, then get it inspected once back in NY and get permanent NY tags.

Are we just making this harder than we need to? None of us wanted to need to go through probate, its cost and time. My sister-in-law is in charge of everything and there are no issues with anything. Does she just need to take her POA paperwork and have her signature notarized?

Thank you for your help.


Senior Member
If your mother-in-law had no will and no surviving spouse and your sister-in-law has no siblings, then she (your sister-in-law) likely inherits under intestacy and has to handle this personally.

I suggest that the first thing she do is contact the NC DMV and see if there is a simplified method for transferring title on an inherited vehicle.

If that fails she will have to open probate in NH and get appointed representative of her mother's estate. The NH probate court website probably has forms and instructions for small estates.

At the same time she can contact the NH DMV and see if there is a simplified process for transferring the title of an out-of-state vehicle. Once she is representative of the estate she'll be able to sign the title, get the car in her name, then sign the new title over to you.

You and NY have nothing to do with this.


The car may have to be sold to pay your mother-in-laws debts since it is now part of her estate. There is likely more to deal with than the car; if there is NC real estate titled in mother-in-law's name, sister-in-law needs to contact an estae attorney in NC In fact, it is in yoru sister-in-laws best interest to at least consult an attorney for direction,

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