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How to transfer vehicle via Power of Attorney? Would this document be effective or do I need to fill out a specific DMV form?

San Diego, CA |

My mother has dementia, but before her illness, she executed a durable Power of Attorney wherein I am to serve as Attorney in fact - the POA permits me to manage and handle her personal property. I would like to transfer her two vehicles into my name, especially since she cannot sign any documents currently. Please advise on the best way to do this.

Attorney Answers 3


  1. Just because you have the power that does not mean you have the right to take and use your mothers property. Because your actions could have serious ramifications you should mEet with an elder law or estate planning attorney.

    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.


  2. Attorney Shultz is correct. As your mother's agent under a Power of Attorney, you can only do things which serve her interest. Transferring the cars to yourself doesn't fit that description. With that said, in some states, a person is allowed to make gifts using a Power of Attorney if the document expressly allows the same. Thus, before doing anything, please retain an experienced lawyer who can review the terms of your Power of Attorney and advise you of your duties.

    This information is presented as a public service. It should not be construed to be formal legal advice nor considered to be the formation of a lawyer/client relationship. I am licensed in Connecticut and New York and my answers are based upon the law in those jurisdictions. My answer to any specific question would likely be different if I were to review a client's file and have the opportunity to interview the client. Accordingly, I strongly urge you to retain an attorney in your jurisdiction with respect to any legal matter.


  3. Hi, I agree with the other two attorneys unless the Durable Power of Attorney allows for gifting. Gifting is often allowed in Durable Powers of Attorney as part of Medi-Cal planning. I recommend that you carefully review the document and contact an experienced attorney if you have any questions.

    No legal representation exists by virtue of this answer. It is recommended that you contact an attorney directly for a more complete response.

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