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Can I get prosecuted for driving my deceased father's car when I am the beneficiary of his estate?

Fort Wayne, IN |

My father has a will that names my sister and myself as the beneficiaries and his lawyer as executor of the estate. He leaves behind two vehicles that my sister and myself have agreed upon.

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Attorney answers 3


Prosecuted criminally? Not very likely. But I would advise you to settle the estate and transfer the title to the cars as you and your sister have agreed so that you can properly prove you own it, register it and insure it.

This is not legal advice nor intended to create an attorney-client relationship. The information provided here is informational in nature only. This attorney may not be licensed in the jurisdiction which you have a question about so the answer could be only general in nature. Visit Steve Zelinger's website:


I agree with Attorney Zelinger. It should not take long for the vehicles to be transferred through probate. But it should be done before you drive them. Otherwise, there is potential liability. Why you would be prosecuted, I cannot imagine.

James Frederick

***Please be sure to mark if you find the answer "helpful" or a "best" answer. Thank you! I hope this helps. ***************************************** LEGAL DISCLAIMER I am licensed to practice law in the State of Michigan and have offices in Wayne and Ingham Counties. My practice is focused in the areas of estate planning and probate administration. I am ethically required to state that the above answer does not create an attorney/client relationship. These responses should be considered general legal education and are intended to provide general information about the question asked. Frequently, the question does not include important facts that, if known, could significantly change the answer. Information provided on this site should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed attorney that practices in your state. The law changes frequently and varies from state to state. If I refer to your state's laws, you should not rely on what I say; I just did a quick Internet search and found something that looked relevant that I hoped you would find helpful. You should verify and confirm any information provided with an attorney licensed in your state. I hope you our answer helpful!


I agree with both of my colleagues. To add, however, if the lawyer wanted to play hardball, he could cause you some issues. If you and your sister agree, and all bills have been paid, I would think the executor would be willing to do a preliminary distribution. The lawyer can and should prevent you from driving the car until title is passed to you because your actions exposure the entire estate to liability.

The general advice above does not constitute an attorney-client relationship: you haven't hired me or my firm or given me confidential information by posting on this public forum, and my answer on this public forum does not constitute attorney-client advice. IRS Circular 230 Disclosure: In order to comply with requirements imposed by the Internal Revenue Service, we inform you that any U.S. tax advice contained in this communication (including any attachments) is not intended to be used, and cannot be used, for the purpose of (i) avoiding penalties under the Internal Revenue Code or (ii) promoting, marketing, or recommending to another party any transaction or matter addressed herein. While I am licensed to practice in New York and California, I do not actively practice in New York. Regardless, nothing said should be deemed an opinion of law of any state. All readers need to do their own research or pay an attorney for a legal opinion if one is necessary or desired.

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