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Advise Please!

My husband and I are headed to WA from KY next month. We have a 1991 Buick that my husband doesn't use much and needs some fixing up. I would rather sell it and take our best offer. My husband's sister and her husband have expressed interest in wanting the car. I have absolutely no problem with giving them the car; I'll even let them have it for free so long as they are willing to have the car title transfered under their name. But my husband wants to let them drive the car with the veichle still registered to him. I don't see the point because I know he's not ever going to ask for the car back. He thinks it'll be too expensive since for them to do that since they are having some financial problems right now.

I don't feel comfortable letting someone drive a car that we no longer want registered in my husband's name. If my SIL or her husband would get into a car accident would we be legally responsible for anything even if it's insured under their name? I'm just worried that if something happens/someone does something illegal with the car, we will be held liable since it's registered in my husband's name. Is my husband asking for trouble if he leaves the car in his name while his sister drives it?

Re: Advise Please!

  • I don't know about the legalities, but why even take a chance?  It's not all that expensive to transfer a title.  Besides, their money problems shouldn't be your concern, especially considering you'd be doing them a huge favor and saving them money by giving them a car outright.
  • I have no idea how much it costs to have that transfered.  When we moved to WA, FI's truck was in his Dad's name, but his Dad sent a signed letter or bill of sale thing.  The DMV didn't really seem to care.

    Would you guys be willing to pay for the transfer?

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  • In order to keep the registration, wouldn't he have to register it in WA?  I don't think you can live in one state permanently and have a car registered in another.

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  • Just on principle, I don't think it is a good idea to sell/borrow a car to a relative.

  • Have him call your insurance agent to discuss his liability in this lending scenario.
  • I agree with -auntie- and suggest you call your insurance agent.

    We recently moved from MI to WA and left one of our leased vehicles in MI in my Mom's care, and for her to drive if needed.

    Everything was legal; we had a separate insurance policy on said vehicle and added my Mom as a driver.  If anything happened to car or Mom above and beyond what our insurance covered, it would have been our responsibility, obviously.

    I'd call and like PP stated, why not just pay to have it transfered, to save the headache? 

  • In many states, unpaid toll road fees, speeding tickets and red light violations caught by cameras are sent to the registered owner, who is legally responsible for paying, even if they weren't driving.?
  • Give them a bill of sale for $10.00 and have them take it to the DMV and have the title transferred.  There is no way I would risk any type of liability issue of a car accident.
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  • image PnkBride:
    Give them a bill of sale for $10.00 and have them take it to the DMV and have the title transferred.  There is no way I would risk any type of liability issue of a car accident.

    Ditto this.  And if you need to pay the transfer fees - pay them as a gift.

    There are so many issues that can happen - you could be accused of insurance fraud if you have a vehicle registered in one state "residing" in another, you and dh could be responsible for all parking tickets, moving violations, etc. (not to mention cars with out-of-state plates are targets for tickets anyway), not to mention if there were an accident - if your SIL can't pay, they'll go after the people with money (you).

    I would put your foot down with your husband.  What is he trying to "save" them from by not registering the cars in their name?  Will they pay less insurance?  Not have to pay property tax on the vehicle?  If they are so dirt poor that they can't afford those things, they have no business owning a car.

     

  • I certainly would not allow someone else to drive the car without having it transferred to their name......I wouldn't care giving them the car but they have to transfer the title over...here where I live they have red light runner camera...they take the name on the registration and send them a ticket regardless who is driving..only one reason why I wouldn't allow that...
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  • image brainie:
    In many states, unpaid toll road fees, speeding tickets and red light violations caught by cameras are sent to the registered owner, who is legally responsible for paying, even if they weren't driving.

    Ditto this.  I know at least in some states you don't need a bill of sale if you are giving the car to a family member, you can just sign over the title.  You just need to pay a small fee for the new title.

    I don't think your husband has thought this through.  Who's going to pay for insurance?  Registration?  Your ILs can't get insurance for a car they don't own.  Are you supposed to keep paying that?

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  • To answer your question, yes, you would be responsible as the car owner if something happened. I was in a car accident that was a no fault (winter weather) and the guy who I rear ended went back and tried to sue not me but my parents since they own a business and they were on the title to my car. Even though neither of my parents were in the car the guy still had the option to do so since he could get more money out of them than me. You would be responsible for any illegal activity and any parking tickets as the owner. in many states, only the owner can get insurance on the car, so you would also have to carry the insurance for you SIL. Also if they do get insurance and let it laps, and are in an accident, you would be held responsible. Your H sounds like my FI, thinking nothing bad would happen, but there are people out there who would try and take advantage of the situation.
  • No way, I'd definitely transfer the title to them. ?I don't even know if there are any legal issues, but you just never know how some people can be.
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  • I'm getting "control freak" vibes from your H.

     

  • Years ago, my sister gave me her old car. ?The interfamily transfer fee was minimal -- $10 if I remember correctly. ?Put in a call to the DMV and find out what is involved. ?Showing your DH how easy/cheap it is may sway him to your point of view.

    If that doesn't work, talk to him about these scenarios: If SIL and BIL are in such financial straits, they are unlikely to carry proper insurance. ?This leaves you guys completely exposed. ?Given the age of the car, it is likely to have a mechanical malfunction at some point. ?Let's say it dies in the middle of highway one afternoon, causing a huge pileup, perhaps with fatalities. ?You guys, as legal owners, will be liable for everything. ?Now, you might think "Well, that is what we have insurance for", but if the lawsuit grants the plaintiffs a larger amount than your policy covers, you guys would be on the hook for the difference - the whole difference. ?That could utterly bankrupt you.?

    This is the worse case scenario, but since it is such an easy thing to avoid by the simple act of transferring the title, I can't see a single reason not to do it.?

  • This is from DMV.org it explains how to transfer a title to a family member in the state of Kentucky.  It is not a difficult process and it is not an expensive process.  If they cannot afford to register the vehicle in their name you should not let them have it... because you still own the car you are still responsible for the car including any accidents the car might be involved in. 

    5) Transferring to Family

    Only the following family members can transfer vehicles to one another without paying additional fees and taxes:

    • Grandparent
    • Parent
    • Spouse
    • Sibling
    • Child

    Once the two family members are ready to make the transfer:

    1. Both parties must complete, sign, date, and have notarized the title.
    2. Both parties must complete, sign, date, and have notarized an Odometer Disclosure Statement.
    3. The new owner must visit his County Clerk?s office within 30 days with proof of insurance, picture identification, and the appropriate fee ($9 for a title-only transfer; for a title and plate transfer, contact the County Clerk?s office).

    NOTE: The new owner will need to register the vehicle in his name. This service is also available at the County Clerk?s office. Please refer to our section on vehicle registration for specific details.

  • I work in insurance: insurance follows the car, not the driver, so you would be liable for any accidents they get into as long as the car is still registered and insured by you. Further, your auto policy could be nonrenewed due to material misrepresentation if someone who is not listed on the policy is regularly operating the vehicle.

    If they try to take out insurance for a car that they do not legally own, that is also material misrepresentation...

     

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  • Definitely have them put everything under their name. In our state if the car is a 'gift' it is fairly inexpensive.
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