What to Do If You Inherit an Old Car


Before you can enjoy the wind in your hair, you'll have to endure the pain of procedures and paperwork.
Before you can enjoy the wind in your hair, you'll have to endure the pain of procedures and paperwork.
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We've all dreamed about it. An unknown, long-lost relative kicks the bucket and bequeaths you a massive fortune, spacious estate or, in the case of fantasizing gearheads, a sweet, classic ride.

People actually inherit old cars all the time, but the reality isn't often so fantastic. Among cruising through legal jurisdictions, taxes, registration and restoration costs, it can be extraordinarily difficult to take possession of an inherited vehicle, much less hop in it and go for a spin. Even the paperwork pileup most auto-inheritors have to navigate through is enough to make you consider cashing in your pink slip (which, incidentally, is a large pain in the bumper).

However, paperwork and rusted fenders are no reasons to bemoan your inheritance. Regardless if you're the proud new owner of a prestigious classic, or you just want to restore your grandfather's old Buick, we'll act like a top-of-the-line GPS to direct you through the sea of bureaucratic red lights. We'll show you how to handle everything from out-of-state probate to selling the vehicle. And, we'll even tell you what to do if your inherited ride is more horseless carriage than car.

Did you know that many inheritors of old autos hire an attorney to help them secure the vehicle? Find out why on the next page.