Q: My grandma had a trust but apparently signed her car title over to me like I had bought it. Does that mean it is mine?
A: It may depend a bit on the state, but if she signed and delivered the car title to you, you are the title owner. The change of title should be filed an MVA/DMV, and you should make sure the insurance matches the title. You are responsible for the vehicle. On the other hand, if the signing of the title was merely for her convenience and she is still driving it, she might argue that she retained beneficial title. In any event, if you surprise her as long as she’s still competent, she can take you out of the trust for what she perceives as bad behavior, so act accordingly.
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One of the challenges with trusts is funding. Title to property must be transferred to the trust by conveyance to the trustee of the trust in order for it to be part of the trust corpus, or body of property in trust.
Title to motor vehicles in Virginia is evidenced by a DMV Certificate of Title. Transfers are effected by an assignment on the face of the document, which are then registered with the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles. There are limited circumstances in which title may be transferred by operation of law, as set forth in Section 46.2-633 of the Code of Virginia.
Anyone interested in the validity of title to a motor vehicle in Virginia should consult with an experienced Virginia lawyer.
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