My daughter-in-law and stepson took the title to my husband's car and registered it to themselves. Supposedly there was a discussion 3 years ago, that if anything should happen, the car would go to them. Nothing in writing, just their word. He has dementia, and is at the end of life with a failing heart. The car was only in my husband's name, an oversight that didn’t seem important at the time. We’ve been married 50 years. Not only is this causing friction with my other 4 children, but my husband doesn’t want to upset anyone or cause a fight, and just doesn’t want to deal with it. I’m feeling betrayed, angry, and have no idea how to undo this without getting my husband upset. He’d rather not argue, (dementia), neither would I, but this is so wrong. I asked if they felt it was wrong morally, and they said, nope, not at all. What a mess. Any advice is appreciated.

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I have to tell you that it is not possible for your family to take the car and register it to themselves. This is a DMV process and the person to whom the car is registered must be present, must present ID, and must sign to have the car registered also in the name of a family member, or to change title on the car, having sold it. I don't know what happened here. I very much doubt that the title of this car is changed, and I would go to the DMV and check on it. Now do know, if your husband DID go and DID change title to the daughter in law and step son, then that is done. It is over. Time to let it go. Sorry it happened, but just let it go. Then see an attorney and make certain all your ducks are in a row, or they will steal the rug out from under your feet, too.
Helpful Answer (11)
Reply to AlvaDeer
lealonnie1 Jan 9, 2023
Exactly. Fishy story the OP is being told.
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They did, in fact, transfer the title, brought me the plate and registration, and said here’s proof. Fraudulently transferred with the car title they apparently took from the safe. Everything else is still there, car title, nope. The locks have been changed due to this. Husband was in ICU, in an induced coma, so he didn’t sign anything. I have an appointment with our attorney tomorrow to find out what can be done. The vehicle was purchased using our joint bank account, and no, I doubt I’ll get the vehicle back. I just want this insanity to stop, It’s pathetic at times like this, that people can’t just be decent human beings. It’s not even about the car, it’s about stealing an asset from your parents. Karma will pay them back if there’s nothing I can do. We’ll see. Thanks for your comments.
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Reply to Bklooney
Frebrowser Jan 9, 2023
So the alleged discussion happened three years ago but the registration change just happened? What gives them this kind of entitlement? Has the car been “theirs” to drive and maintain or has it been parked at your home? They really took the title, the keys, and the car from your house when your husband was in the hospital? They don’t have a POA for him, do they??

Add working with the insurance company to your to do list. If your husband doesn’t own the car anymore, he’s probably due for a refund for any coverage after the transfer date.
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This is what your husbands children need to understand, that they have no rights even when its a second wife especially when you have been married for 50 yrs. That "if anything goes wrong" does not mean Dementia, it means death. Does daughter have POA? Even so, it does not give her the right to do what she did. Actually, she cannot personally profit from being POA unless its in the paperwork. I would ask a Lawyer what he thinks. Please, don't have your husband make decisions, he really can't, just do what you need to do.

I would take this as a warning, this daughter feels entitled. I would have all the locks changed in the house. I would make sure all legal documents are secure. If I felt it was needed, I would give a set of keys to the person I could trust and with that the place where all important papers are. Maybe buying a fire safe cabinet with a key only that person has. It is not unusual for step children to overlook a step parent when the bio parent passes. They think their rights override the step-parents. I so hope that your Wills read "what is yours is mine" because that means everything your husband owns is yours. He could leave certain things to his children but you would own everything else. Then its up to you how generous u want to be with your husbands personal effects. If you have joint accts, I may open one of my own and start having my SS and any pension go into that acct. Your entitled to half of what is in the joint acct. I would withdraw that. You need to protect yourself. Also, this SD needs to realize she didn't walk into her Dads house and take that title, she walked into your house too.

I would not be surprised that she had Dad sign that title over. You can claim he was incompetent to make that decision. Even if you don't get anywhere with this, you now know which child you need to watch.
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Reply to JoAnn29

I think your DIL and step son are trying to sell you a bill of goods here, and have done nothing of the sort, as AlvaDeer explained (unless your DH did sign the title over to them, unbeknownst to you). A person cannot just trot into the DMV and change the ownership on a car title! They're trying to boondoggle you, hoping you won't call them out on this lie, and they can drive off in this car that does NOT belong to them at all.
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Reply to lealonnie1

Report the car to the police as stolen. Then contact the DMV and tell them you have reason to believe your stolen vehicle has been re-registered to the thief's name. Tell that your husband is not competent to sign a car over to anyone.

Sit back and see what everyone does.
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Reply to MJ1929

How old is the car? Is it worth enough to go thru all this drama to get it back?
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Reply to Bridget66

Same happened to a neighbor, but after he died. A visiting niece stole his car, and the daughter could not get it back.

All I can think of is to make a police report. This will give you documentation and a place to start.

If your husband does not back you up, there is nothing you can do on your own to get the car back, unless you are POA. Maybe he did not share all the truth with you?

I hope this did not leave you without transportation of your own.
The car must have been an asset of the marriage, whether or not your name was on it?

You might need an attorney to protect your assets.

Try checking with the DMV who the car is now registered to.
The liability of a car transferring title can fall on you and your husband if the transfer is not complete, not insured in their name etc. and they have an accident.
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Reply to Sendhelp

Unfortunately, I'm not sure that there's anything TO do at this point. I'm not even sure how cooperative the police would be in this matter, especially since you're dealing with your husband with dementia, and a supposedly 3 year old "promise". The only thing they *might* do is get a copy of the title and compare signatures on the title. But that's an awful lot of work for a case that I doubt a prosecuting attorney would even look to try.

Maybe there's a more subtle way to deal with this. Is there going to be any sort of inheritance to your/husband's children after he/you pass? I might add a codicil reducing this child's portion of the inheritance by the value of the car and split that extra amount money between the remaining children. From the description of this DIL, that would likely sting her more than anything else that might happen.
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Reply to notgoodenough
graygrammie Jan 22, 2023
I was thinking along the same lines regarding inheritance with one change. After the car is valued, each of the other children would get that same amount right off the top of the inheritance (rather than splitting that amount among the four) and THEN the remainder of the inheritance would be spread among the heirs.

Or, since the wife will still be alive when dad passes, she can write into the new will how she wants it handled.

Since there was a whole lot of deception going on here, I can understand the siblings being upset and perhaps they need to have their own sit-down talk and explain to the sibling that now has the car exactly how they feel. Either that, or this will simmer until both parents have passed. A car is not worth division in a family. Deal with it now and move on. I hate seeing families destroyed because of money.

My father gave me mom's car (a 2012 Toyota) when she died. He then bought himself a new car (2020 Subaru) and told me that since I got mom's car, my sister gets his. Folks have told me that isn't fair. Why not? I am happy with the Toyota, it is serving me well. And I can't wait to see how thrilled my sister will be when I tell her the Subaru is hers. It isn't always about the money.
I was with Mom when she privately sold her car. I typed up a bill of sale were both Mom and the buyer signed their name. All Mom had to do was sign her name on the title and hand it over. Then the buyer took it to the DMV and registered it. I took Moms plates off. The buyer had to bring the new plates back and place them on the car. I turned Moms plates in.

If your DIL took that title without your permission thats stealing. If your husband did not sign it, someone did so thats fraud.

Promising someone they can have something means nothing if its not in writing. Either a codicil has to be attached to a Will or something in writing that your husband signed.

There is a way to get a title replacement saying you lost it. I would really want to make sure that the car is insured by DIL. That your husband cannot be held responsible if there is a serious accident.

My husband has his car in his name, my car is in my name we share insurance bill. We were told years ago not to put our names both on the title. If ur sued and have the car in both names you could lose everything. In one name u can only be sued for half of your combined assets.
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Reply to JoAnn29
jemfleming Jan 24, 2023
The vehicle was in the husband’s name only. The wife has no say over what he does with it because he owns it alone. If they took it from him by forging his name that is different - that is a fraud against him. If you can prove that his signature was forged, or he was financially incompetent or had no knowledge that they were taking his car you may have a case. But if he made an agreement, the title was in his name rather than jointly held, and he willingly signed over the title to them, then I do not believe the spouse has any say. Seems unfair but that is my understanding of legal ownership of an asset.
So , they don’t have the car? But stole the title? You could call the DMV and ask what happens when someone does exactly this and what you can do about it… hopefully they can give you instructions about it. If DMV says to report it , I would tell stepson you will give him 10 days to undo what they have done, and you will report it to the police.
as spouse, your husband’s assets fall to you upon his passing. Including the car.
Are they carrying the car insurance?
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Reply to babsjvd

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