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1) Are/were the cars titled in the deceased's name alone, or are/were there co-owners on titles who now have ownership through survival? 

2) Did the deceased have a Will? If so, who is the named Executor? Has the Will been probated?

3) If there is no Will, who is in line to be Administrator of the Estate? Has an Administrator been appointed?

Unless and until these questions are answered it is very difficult to provide meaningful advice.  All else is speculation.  From what has been revealed so far, it appears you have no legal position with regard to disposition of these estate assets nor do you have any legal obligation to perform any work on behalf of the estate.  Tread carefully.

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3 hours ago, 46 woodie said:

I have been involved in a similar situation. One of my best friends of over 50 years passed away. His wife asked me to help her in liquidating the hundreds of part's that her husband collected over the years. We went to every swap meet, including HERSHEY every year so I knew what he had. I also have a key to his shop and spent two or three nights in the shop and every Saturday working on his cars. Over time, I put aside some of the parts that I want to purchase from his estate, (his wife). When it came down to the purchase, the number she quoted me was several hundred dollars more than what he had purchased them for. I tried to explain what the parts were realistically worth, she wouldn't hear it and I did not get to purchase them. Also, she changed the lock to the shop so my key no longer works and when I explained that there are many of my personal tools including a Miller welder in the shop, she told me that unless I can prove what tools are mine, nothing is leaving the shop. Luckily I had the receipt for the welder, so I finally got it back and she can keep the rest of my tools. Just be careful.

Well, when the estate sale happens, offer her half for those parts and when the scrappers end up buying it for pennies, she will realize you weren’t bsing her. I bought 2 rebuilt slim Jim transmissions just over scrap prices when scrap was high at an estate sale. Ready to bolt in trans for $50. It cost me $1200 several years earlier to rebuild one. I didn’t need them but it was crazy how most of the auto parts NOBODY wanted, and there was a lot. Scrappers took pickup beds full of decent parts for pennies on the pound. 

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Answers to all of the above questions remain unanswered. Even his sister doesn't seem to know the answers. I assume that there is a written document and expect that in a community property state, that it will accede to the legality of the situation. I have no rights and my position is only that of an absent advisor.

Bill

Edited by Buffalowed Bill (see edit history)
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Disregard my comment that cherry picking was not an option. I received word from the sister that the daughter wants the Toyota and step son has put in a request for the Porsche. I think that Mal would be be pleased to have family members interested in some of the cars, but it makes it harder to package the whole collection. 

 

Bill

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Bill, first off my condolences to you on the loss of your friend. After reading the entire thread a couple of times there seems to be a lot of good advice. The reality of it is though, at this point your opinion means very little to nothing in the matter. I mean this with nothing but respect.  The widow is most likely in complete control of the disposition if there will be any at all. I am sure she has an attorney that is handling everything. I know you have BEST intentions but we know where that paved road goes. The difficulty of getting rid of the cars has been well discussed, and someone 3,000 miles away that has zero recourse or interest in the subject has little clout. I think the best thing to do, since you obviously know the collection as well as anyone alive today, would be to reach out to the widow and offer whatever you can to help. If she accepts then fine. If not, thats her choice and let it be.

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4 hours ago, TAKerry said:

I think the best thing to do, since you obviously know the collection as well as anyone alive today, would be to reach out to the widow and offer whatever you can to help. If she accepts then fine. If not, thats her choice and let it be.

About as well said as it can be.  And thanks for offering to help your friends family. 

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