Is the executor responsible for getting a clean title to the decedent’s vehicle before selling it to the public?

UPDATED: Oct 2, 2022

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Is the executor responsible for getting a clean title to the decedent’s vehicle before selling it to the public?

Executor sold the decedent’s car, but the new owner cannot
drive the vehicle because the executor did not secure a new
title to the car.

Asked on July 28, 2019 under Estate Planning, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

Yes, the executor was responsible for this. Whomever sells a vehicle--in this case, the estate--has the obligation to provide clean title (unless, that is, the contract of sale specifically says that the seller is not warrantying or guarantying title). The executor who is the one with legal authority and responsibilty/obligation to manage the estate and enter into transactions, like sales of vehicles, on its behalf. Therefore, the executor, on behalf of the estate, had the responsibility to provide clean title.

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