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How do i get a lost title to a vehicle of a deceased family member

Arlington, TX |

my grandfather passed away in 1999. he had no will. he had a vehicle that wasnt paid off that my uncle had for a while and then couldnt afford payments so asked my father to take the truck and make payments so it wouldnt go back. my dad agreed and paid it off and gmac sent the title. the title was lost about 5 years ago, the truck was paid off in 2003. its in my grandfathers name and last registered in the state of south carolina but we live in texas and cannot get a title for it or registration. how would we do this if my grandfather had no will. he had only 3 sons and no wife

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Attorney answers 1


Question: Where has the truck been for 5 years? how was it registered? How was it plated and driven. If you are looking to buy it from your dad so you can use it here in Texas, it may be more trouble than it is worth.

You either need to probate your grandfather's estate under intestate laws, to have letters testamentary issued which will allow someone to sign and transfer the title from your grandfather's estate to whomever. But that is likely going to cost more than the vehicle is worth. (at least $2,500) So only go this route only if there is other property still in your grandfather's name that needs to be title transferred. (Houses, land, cars, boats, etc.) Otherwise, I recommend you consider a bonded title. Your last option is to forget about title and sell it as scrap, or walk away from the vehicle.

This is why you need to take care of business. People avoid doing the correct thing (probating grandpa's estate) then the have tons of little issues down the road.

I am an attorney licensed to practice in Texas, Louisiana and before the United States Patent and Trademark Office. Laws vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction and the above may not be an accurate assessment of the laws for your area. The above should be taken as general guidance and not specific legal advice. For specific legal advice you should seek a licensed attorney in your jurisdiction practicing in the area specific to your issue. The above does not constitute or establish an attorney client relationship. If you wish to receive specific advice about your legal issue, then contact my office to schedule a personal consultation.



My grandfather was disabled veteran and the truck has south Carolina Dsabled veteran plates. They do things a little bit differently there such as they don't require vehicle inspection nor do they have registration stickers on their windshields. The truck has for the most part been in a storage because my dad used his work vehicle and if his truck was ever beeing driven for an excessive amount of time then it was usually back and forth to Carolina. I was curious if him and both brother signed an affidavit of heirship could that work ? Also does it matter that my grandfather passed away in sc not Texas and that was the last state the truck was registered to

Kevin Mark Jones

Kevin Mark Jones


No. Once your grandfather passed away, if the vehicle was driven at all more than 45 days after his death, then it was done illegally because it was not validly plated. Plates in SC stay with the person, not the vehicle. Since he was deceased, your Uncle or Father (i.e. the heirs) had a duty to return the plates within 45 days of his death. Now you have a mess because someone did do what they were suppose to do. That's the last of the free advice. If you need further help, call my office, or see a local attorney. We have to make a living too.

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