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I bought a 1909 Hupmobile in Texas in 2013. The seller, the daughter of the deceased owner, gave me a bill of sale and the 1965 Texas title to the car. All well so far, but her deceased father never transferred the title to his name, though he owned the car for many years. My state (PA) won't give me a PA title because the daughter's name isn't on the Texas title. Will it be difficult for the daughter to transfer the Texas title to her name?  I'm hoping Texas might be a bit more lenient than PA. Can anyone offer some advice?

 

Phil

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The deceased owner would have a estate, the will and possibly probate would allow the daughter to sign the title and your state should accept that. The daughter may need to supply a Texas document showing her as executor or power of attorney.

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After reading the posts it sounds like he did not have a title.  I have heard of really old vehicles that were bought without a title but only a bill of sale.  However, if he ever had a license plate I would think he had a title.  I'd send his daughter a registered later with signature required to get her attention.  The executor of the will would be able to sign a transfer if the title exists. There are car title companies in Texas that for a fee might assist you.

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Thanks for the replies. The lady who sold me the car gave me a Texas title. It's the correct title for the car (with matching VIN), but her late father never transferred the title to his name when he bought the car in the '70s. The problem is her name on the Bill of Sale she gave me doesn't match the name on the title. When I applied for a PA title, I sent PennDOT the 6% sales tax due on the purchase. They denied me the title but (naturally) kept my money. 

 

I thought I was in the clear with this car, as it had a title, unlike some others I've owned! Will the lady help me? I'll post what happens.

 

Phil

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Yes that's PennDOT's view, Ted. That's why I'm hoping she can get it transferred to her name. 

 

I often wonder how people who buy an old title at a flea market are able to get it assigned to their car.

 

Phil

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There are people/companies in Hemmings that claim they can get you a title.

I believe they take the car information and apply for a title in their state.......one that has a very liberal title policy.

They probably get the title in their name and transfer it to you......you then apply for a title in your state.

Your main problem seems to be Pennsylvania.......I have a close friend, from Penn, his mother lived there and she passed last year. He was an only child so he was the only heir.

it took him almost 2 years to get the estate settled. And the house was already in his name....also because he lived out of Penn, he had to put up a $500 bond each year to be administrator of the estate.

It might be easier for you to move.

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After a letter, 5 emails, and 4 phone messages, I finally got a reply from the seller. She seems agreeable to help with the title. I found a good title service in Texas: Auto Title Recovery in Lumberton, Texas. Terri Gloebe there answered my questions promptly via email (and on a Sunday). The bottom line: the simplest way is to get the seller to put the title in her name, then transfer it to me. Of course, I should have done that when I bought the car. A new Texas title can also be obtained with an inspection in Texas

 

Anyway, the seller agreed to help me... in September. She's "overloaded" as an executor of her mother's estate, so I guess I'm waiting.

 

The other option in PA is to file in court a "Motion for Involuntary Transfer of Vehicle Ownership." This can be done by an enterprising citizen. I hired a lawyer to do it for me with my title-less 1906 Maxwell. It ended up costing about $600. 

 

Title law is primarily concerned with new and used cars. Antique vehicles are little understood or appreciated by state bureaucracies, so we must just muddle through.

 

Phil 

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Neither the daughter nor the father have established ownership of the title, so you are going to have to track down the owner whose name is on the title. If that owner signed it as the seller, then all you have to do is fill in your name as the buyer. If that owner is deceased or cannot be tracked down, then it is probably simpler for you to just go through one of the old car title services and try to get a new title issued for the car.

Pete Phillips

Leonard, Texas

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Just to end this thread: I just got tags and title to my Hupmobile. As previously mentioned, PA refused to transfer the Texas title to me  because the name on it didn't match the seller's name. After months of promises, the Texas seller then refused to help. I then hired a lawyer (AACA member Bryan Shook) who applied to a judge, and I finally got my title.

My lessons here: make sure the seller's name on the bill of sale matches the name on the title. Also, get a bill of sale with the seller's name and address plus the buyer's name & address. A notary seal is nice, but not essential. Also, check the serial number on the title matches that on the car. These things can be corrected by the seller in their state. If they refuse,  re-consider your purchase. Happy motoring!

 

Phil

Edited by MochetVelo (see edit history)
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This is a good result, but it seems that we in the hobby have to keep learning the same lesson over and over. I know paying taxes sucks, but you can see what kinds of mischief and headaches it causes for everyone else down the line, including your children when you're dead. Put your cars in your name, pay your taxes, get good title, and you (or your children) will not have problems when the time comes to sell. Yes, yes, it sucks, waah waah waah. If you can afford toy cars you can afford to pay your taxes. Sorry.

 

Buyers, do your due diligence. DO NOT buy a car that isn't ALREADY in the seller's name. A bill of sale is NOT a title in most states. An ancient title in someone else's name and a bill of sale from the guy who claims he currently owns it is NOT a good title. Do not believe a seller when he says, "You should be able to get a new title, no problem." You probably can't without help, as Phil learned, and it was probably somewhat expensive. And you're rolling the dice, because a different court might have decided that the guy whose name was on the title from 1965 was still the rightful owner and it would have been a nightmare to track down his descendants and convince them to help you. Maybe they want their car back and you'd honestly have no recourse at that point. 

 

An "open" title like Pete Philips describes above is workable, but when it's been open that long, the DMV is going to ask some uncomfortable questions and title skips are still illegal if they decide they don't like the way the deal smells.

 

Don't buy a car unless everything lines up: seller's name is on title, VIN matches title, bill of sale matches both. If even one of these is out of line, I don't care how much you want the car or how big a bargain you think it might be, it's smarter to walk away. Fixing it is not easy or cheap. And please, don't just assume you can hand the headache to the sap who buys it from you. That's not cool.

 

Phil, I'm glad it worked out for you. Would you be willing to share the cost of sorting all this out with the rest of the class?

 

 

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11 hours ago, Matt Harwood said:

This is a good result, but it seems that we in the hobby have to keep learning the same lesson over and over. I know paying taxes sucks, but you can see what kinds of mischief and headaches it causes for everyone else down the line, including your children when you're dead. Put your cars in your name, pay your taxes, get good title, and you (or your children) will not have problems when the time comes to sell. Yes, yes, it sucks, waah waah waah. If you can afford toy cars you can afford to pay your taxes. Sorry.

 

Buyers, do your due diligence. DO NOT buy a car that isn't ALREADY in the seller's name. A bill of sale is NOT a title in most states. An ancient title in someone else's name and a bill of sale from the guy who claims he currently owns it is NOT a good title. Do not believe a seller when he says, "You should be able to get a new title, no problem." You probably can't without help, as Phil learned, and it was probably somewhat expensive. And you're rolling the dice, because a different court might have decided that the guy whose name was on the title from 1965 was still the rightful owner and it would have been a nightmare to track down his descendants and convince them to help you. Maybe they want their car back and you'd honestly have no recourse at that point. 

 

An "open" title like Pete Philips describes above is workable, but when it's been open that long, the DMV is going to ask some uncomfortable questions and title skips are still illegal if they decide they don't like the way the deal smells.

 

Don't buy a car unless everything lines up: seller's name is on title, VIN matches title, bill of sale matches both. If even one of these is out of line, I don't care how much you want the car or how big a bargain you think it might be, it's smarter to walk away. Fixing it is not easy or cheap. And please, don't just assume you can hand the headache to the sap who buys it from you. That's not cool.

 

Phil, I'm glad it worked out for you. Would you be willing to share the cost of sorting all this out with the rest of the class?

 

 

I agree with Matt, have never understood how folks buy ...... without paying attention to the most important document, the title.

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I've  had two titles awarded to me in court, using legal help. The first was my 1905 Maxwell, which probably never had a title due to its age. My lawyer got statements from the seller and the previous seller, and the Court granted me title. My second experience was the above-mentioned Hupmobile. My cost on each case was around $700.  As Matt states, the legal system is not always sympathetic, so you could say I was lucky. My next project is getting a title for a vintage  car I got in France. Some people never learn.

 

Phil

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