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question about title and ownership for classic cars

jjhardyjjhardy Posts: 5
Hi all. I'm new to the classic car scene so I've got some questions that I hope you guys can me with. Hopefully I will be able to join the ranks soon enough!

My question is about how to properly establish ownership (title, registration etc) for an older car. I have agreed in principle to buy a car (a 69 Chevy) from someone in PA. I live in NY, where 1973-and-older cars are not issued titles, but are issued transferable registrations ("transferable" part for ownership, "registration" part for road operation).

So the situation is that the seller does not have paperwork in their name (the previous owner is dead, and the seller came into possession of the car).

My question is: what needs to be done/ what is the proper paper work so that I can have legal ownership of the car and properly register it in NY? Does anyone know? Also, any advice on the steps I need to take before I can drive it home (example: register it, insure it and get plates) is VERY much appreciated. As you can see, I need all the advice I can get.

Looking forward to the advice and help. Sorry for the story. Thanks!
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Comments

  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 22,142
    I live in Maryland, and bought a couple cars from Pennsylvania. One thing I remember that was a bit annoying is that the transaction had to be handled on the PA side by a Notary Public. They would oversee the transaction, witnessing the signatures and putting their seal on the paperwork, including the bill of sale. They would also issue a temporary tag on the spot. I think it's a 30 day tag.

    I dunno how you'd handle registering it in New York, though. Both cars I bought in PA were antiques and I was getting historic plates for them, so no inspection was required. I just took the paperwork to the motor vehicle administration, and they issued me my permanent tags on the spot, and the new title came in the mail a couple weeks later.
  • jjhardyjjhardy Posts: 5
    thanks for the reply andre1969. I guess the question I still am stuck with is how will ownership be transferred since the seller's name is not on anything and the person's name on the papers has passed away?

    Also, when you mentioned the temporary tags, do you mean a temporary plate that will allow me to drive it back to NY? Do I get it at the PA DMV?
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 22,142
    I guess the question I still am stuck with is how will ownership be transferred since the seller's name is not on anything and the person's name on the papers has passed away?

    Well, that part I'm not sure about. Who is actually selling you the car? I'm guessing they would have to show proof of ownership somehow, such as a will or some statement saying that they had the authority to sell you the car.

    Also, when you mentioned the temporary tags, do you mean a temporary plate that will allow me to drive it back to NY? Do I get it at the PA DMV?

    Yeah, this temporary tag will allow you to drive the car back to New York. You don't have to go to the PA DMV though. The notary public will have these temporary tags in stock, and will give you one on the spot. At least, that's how it worked for me. I bought a '79 New Yorker in PA last year, and the seller and I went to a notary public that was located at a boat dealership. It cost something like $50-60 to do the paperwork on the Pennsylvania side of things and to get the tag, and then I think it was another $100, roughly, to do the paperwork at my own DMV in Maryland.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,974
    The person has no legal right to sell you the car and you have no way of knowing that it isn't stolen.

    Someone ALWAYS owns the car. If the person dies, his estate or heirs own it. If this person inherited it, then he takes the death certificate to PA DMV and gets the right forms to transfer to you. If the dying person gave it to him, or his heirs gave it to him, he needs a bill of sale from the heirs and he should get PA papers for it.

    I would NOT give this person any money until you have valid PA papers of some kind. You are asking for trouble.

    There are ways to solve this but unfortunately I can't tell you about them. :cry:

    Call up YOUR DMV and explain and see what they tell you. I think they will agree with me.

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  • jjhardyjjhardy Posts: 5
    Mr Shiftright, thanks for great advice. I will be careful and will be asking for the paper trail. If things aren't what they should be, then its goodbye. I wanted this to be a legit deal, so fortunately I didn't give them any money yet and let them sort out the paperwork and get back to me.

    And I hear you on the "other ways" to solve this, and I think I don't want to know about them either!

    Thanks again for the solid advice.
  • euphoniumeuphonium Great Northwest, West of the Cascades.Posts: 3,345
    Re: Insurance for the 69 Chev.

    When you have auto(s) insured already, your policy automatically covers a newly acquired vehicle for 30 days. However, the coverages afforded are only what you have already on your vehicle(s).

    If you have Full Coverage on at least one of your vehicles, that coverage has the 30 day extension for the 69.
  • jjhardyjjhardy Posts: 5
    Mr Shiftright, just to add to your comments, here is an answer I got from another forum where I posted the same question, which basically confirms your answer:

    With the car in Pa. I assume Pa. has titles and/or transferrable registrations. What you need to do is obtain a death certificate of the registered owner and a legal document showing the seller has Power of Attorney to sell the car along with the appropriate Bill of Sale, Title & Registration application, and Proof of Insurance. Take all that to DMV and you should be good.
    What you're showing there is WHO owned the car, WHAT happened to him, WHO'S responsible for the car now, WHAT is its final disposition ( selling it too you), and that YOU can now legally own & register the vehicle. It's alot of paperwork, but no different really than buying a car from some car enthusiasts widow.........
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,974
    That's a good answer. The point is, again that SOMEONE always owns a car. A car is never owner-less. If the estate doesn't own it, and the widow doesn't own it , then the state of PA owns it. You can't "claim" a car because there's no one around to stop you.

    Of course, you can lien a car and gain title if you had legitimate reason (storage fees, etc.).

    MODERATOR --Need help with anything? Click on my name!

  • jjhardyjjhardy Posts: 5
    andre1969:
    A question: the seller in PA pretty much told me that we would be taking care of the paperwork and tags at a Notary Public. Do I need to pay PA taxes on the sale and is that part of the sum on the bill of sale? Or is there separate paperwork for that?

    Thanks in advance for your answer, just wanted to make sure I get everything straight before I hand over money to people.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 22,142
    A question: the seller in PA pretty much told me that we would be taking care of the paperwork and tags at a Notary Public. Do I need to pay PA taxes on the sale and is that part of the sum on the bill of sale? Or is there separate paperwork for that?

    Yeah, when you buy a car from PA, the transaction there gets handled by a notary public. However, you don't pay Pennsylvania taxes on the sale if you're going to register it in another state. You'll basically just pay for the temporary tag and the notary's service. I think I paid $50 total when I bought my '79 New Yorker in PA last year. It was a fairly quick process, maybe 1/2 hour total.

    You'll pay the sales tax on the purchase when you go to tag and title it in your home state. And depending on your state's DMV, that probably WON'T be a quick and easy process!
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