How to sell a scrap car of a deceased person

How to sell a scrap car of a deceased person?

When a loved one passes away, dealing with the legal and financial aspects of their estate can be a challenging and emotional task. Among these considerations is the process of selling a scrap car that belonged to the deceased person. To navigate this process successfully, it’s crucial to understand the steps involved and obtain the necessary legal authority. 

This article serves as a comprehensive guide on how to sell a scrap car of a deceased person, covering essential topics such as probate, title change, clearing finances, and canceling insurance. By following the outlined steps and addressing key legal requirements, you can ensure a smooth and lawful sale of the scrap car while honoring the memory of the departed.

Get the Legal Authority

When dealing with the sale of a scrap car belonging to a deceased person, it’s crucial to first obtain the legal authority to act on behalf of the deceased’s estate. Without this authority, you won’t have the right to sell the vehicle. Here are the steps to get the necessary legal permission:

  • Determine the Executor: The first step is to identify the executor of the deceased person’s estate. The executor is the individual responsible for managing the deceased’s affairs and assets as per their will.
  • Probate Process: If the deceased left a will, the will must go through the probate process in probate court. This legal process validates the will and grants the executor the authority to distribute assets, including the scrap car.
  • Intestate Succession: In case the deceased didn’t have a will, the estate will be distributed according to the intestacy laws of the state. In such cases, the court will appoint an administrator, who will have the authority to sell the car.
  • Death Certificate and Ownership Documents: To proceed with the legal process, you will typically need the death certificate of the deceased and the ownership documents of the scrap car.

Title Change

Once you have the legal authority to sell the scrap car, the next crucial step is to change the title of the vehicle to the seller’s name. Follow these steps:

  • Gather Required Documents: Collect all the necessary documents, such as the death certificate, the probate court order, the car’s title, and any other documents required by your state’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).
  • Executor’s Information: If you are the executor, provide your identification and any additional documents required by the DMV to prove your authority.
  • Transfer of Title: Complete the required forms to transfer the title of the scrap car to the executor or the authorized seller.
  • Pay Fees: Pay any applicable fees for the title transfer as required by the DMV.
  • New Title Issuance: Once all the paperwork is in order and the fees are paid, the DMV will issue a new title in the name of the executor or the seller.

Clear Finances

Before selling the scrap car, it’s crucial to ensure that all financial obligations related to the vehicle are addressed. Follow these steps to clear the finances:

  • Pay off Loans and Liens: If the deceased had an outstanding car loan, it needs to be settled before selling the vehicle. Additionally, check for any liens on the car, which should also be paid off.
  • Insurance Company: Inform the car insurance company about the owner’s passing and cancel the insurance policy on the vehicle.
  • Estate Planning and Debts: Assess the deceased’s estate planning documents and address any debts or mortgages using the estate’s funds.

Cancel Insurance

Canceling the insurance policy on the scrap car is necessary to avoid any ongoing financial obligations. Here’s how to do it:

  • Contact the Insurance Company: Get in touch with the car insurance company and inform them about the owner’s passing. Provide the necessary information and documentation, including the death certificate and proof of legal authority to act on behalf of the deceased.
  • Effective Date: Discuss with the insurance company the effective date of the policy cancellation. This should typically be the date when the car is sold or when the title is transferred to the buyer.
  • Prorated Refund: Depending on the insurance company’s policy, you might be eligible for a prorated refund for the unused portion of the insurance premium.


Selling a scrap car of a deceased person involves several legal and financial considerations. Obtaining the legal authority to act on behalf of the deceased’s estate, changing the title, clearing finances, and canceling insurance are essential steps in the process.

If you find this process overwhelming, consider seeking guidance from a legal professional experienced in estate planning and probate matters. Remember to follow the laws and regulations in your state throughout the process to ensure a smooth and lawful sale of the scrap car.

Turn Your Junk Car Into Cash Now

If you have a scrap car to sell, consider reaching out to “Cash for Junk Car,” a trusted buyer for scrap vehicles. We offer free quotes, fair prices, and hassle-free transactions.


Q: How long can you drive a deceased person’s car?

A: It’s best to avoid driving the deceased person’s car for an extended period. Once the owner passes away, the vehicle’s insurance coverage may become invalid, leading to potential legal and financial issues.

Q: How to transfer the car title after the death of the owner?

A: To transfer the car title after the death of the owner, you will need to follow the legal process through probate court or intestate succession, obtain the necessary documents, and then complete the title transfer with your state’s DMV.

Q: Can an executor sell a car before probate?

A: Generally, an executor cannot sell a car before probate, as they need the legal authority granted by the probate court to manage and distribute the deceased’s assets, including the car.

Q: Can a next of kin sell a deceased car?

A: Yes, a next of kin can sell a deceased person’s car if they have the legal authority to do so. This authority can be obtained through the probate process or intestate succession if there is no will.

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