Camarillo, CA asked in Probate for California

Q: What is the law that prevents the sale of a vehicle prior to probate?

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1 Lawyer Answer
James L. Arrasmith
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  • Probate Lawyer
  • Sacramento, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: In California, the law regarding the sale of a vehicle belonging to a deceased person before probate is primarily governed by the California Probate Code. Probate is a legal process through which a deceased person's estate is properly distributed to heirs or beneficiaries, and any debts are paid off. This process is essential for legal transfer of property, including vehicles.

Before probate, the sale of a vehicle owned by the deceased is generally not permitted. This is because the legal title to the vehicle remains in the name of the deceased until the probate court transfers the title. Selling a vehicle without this transfer can lead to legal complications.

If you're facing a situation where a vehicle needs to be sold before probate, it's important to consult with a legal professional familiar with estate law. They can provide guidance on possible exceptions or emergency measures that might apply in certain circumstances. For instance, if there's an urgent need to sell the vehicle for the benefit of the estate, the court might grant special permission.

Remember, each case can have unique aspects, so it's crucial to seek tailored advice based on the specific details of your situation.

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