Mother died wrecked car 2 days prior. Sole heir wants to transfer title at DMV prior to sending affadavit to ins co to submit for claim.

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Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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UPDATED: Nov 7, 2011

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Insurance Question from Richmond, VA

Asked on 11/07/2011

Mother died wrecked car 2 days prior. Sole heir wants to transfer title at DMV prior to sending affadavit to ins co to submit for claim. Hi, my mother died just 2 days after she totaled her car. 60 days have passed, ins co says car still titled to my mother on their lot. According to attorney, DMV and the court, small estate/no need to probate since only asset was a motor vehicle and I am sole heir. My question is, should I first title the vehicle to me prior to signing over title to insurance co to protect my interests? I am afraid if they iwill ssue the check to the estate, unless the vehicle is titled to me first. Will the ins co write a check to me after I title with affadavit even though I am not the policyholder?

Answer given on November 10, 2011

Since the car was involved in an accident prior to your mother’s death, and the insurance policy that was in her name would be the policy to pay for the damages to the car, or the total loss payment. If you transfer title after the fact, it will not affect the claim check and who will be paid for the car. The claim check will be made out to the named insured at the time of the loss. Since the car is a total it doesn’t seem DMV will be willing to allow a title transfer.You can talk to the insurance company about the situation and that your mother is no longer living. They may be willing to make the check payable to you, but it is not likely. If you are the sole heir the funds will probably become yours, but that is a legal issue, not an insurance issue. You will need to consult your attorney and/or the courts.

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