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  1. #1

    Question Inherited Motorcyle With a Lien

    My question involves vehicle registration or title in the state of: California

    I completely appreciate any insight anyone may be able to offer on this, any little bit is helpful!

    My father-in-law (was not married to my wife's mother, but she considers him father) passed away a month ago and left behind a slew of vehicles in various states of repair/titles.

    The vehicle in question is a Motorcycle (currently completely disassembled by my father in law before he passed) which has a Lien held on it by some sort of financial institution. (I have a copy of the title and know who holds the lien, just don't know why or what it was for exactly)

    He had a living trust leaving "all worldly" goods to my wife including the grand total of only a couple hundred dollars.

    Once the lien holder finds out he has passed are they going to attempt to repossess the bike? How would they even do that? Through probate? I was under impression that if there is a living trust an estate can't go into probate. The trust was notarized and then given to us but it hasnt been filed anywhere and I dont even know if it has to. This all happened VERY fast. But that's another thread in another forum I'm sure!

    How can I find out how much the lien is for without alarming the lien holder to come looking for us/the bike? And if they do become aware we are in possession of it, even though we are not trying to title it nor are on the title...are we now the owners of whatever debt he incurred against the bike? If we turned over the bike (really the frame is all that's left) to them are we responsible for whatever remains after they auction/sell it?

    I apologize for my lack of knowledge in this and hope its in the right forum since its kind of a combination of a couple different forums.

    Thank you!

  2. #2

    Default Re: Inherited Motorcyle With a Lien

    Check the title carefully. Does the title specify ownership to a living trust (do those two words "living trust" actually appear ON the title)?
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  3. #3
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    Default Re: Inherited Motorcyle With a Lien

    to expand on Aardvarc's post a bit:


    when property is put into a trust, the trust becomes the owner. It sounds like the title remained in the father in laws name. If so, it was not part of the trust.

    and to the trust:

    Does it list all the items your wife believes she has received from the trust?

    When was the trust created?

    the debt involved with the bike does not simply disappear. I can see no harm is asking the lien holder what the lien is for. If you want to attempt to gain title to the bike, you will have to settle the lien anyway.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Inherited Motorcyle With a Lien

    Usually here we don't put the word "living" in the trust name. Typically it reads something like "The FlyingRon Trust, FlyingRon trustee"

  5. #5

    Default Re: Inherited Motorcyle With a Lien

    Thank you for your assistance! Its very much appreciated.

    Quote Quoting jk
    View Post
    to expand on Aardvarc's post a bit:


    when property is put into a trust, the trust becomes the owner. It sounds like the title remained in the father in laws name. If so, it was not part of the trust.

    and to the trust:

    Does it list all the items your wife believes she has received from the trust?
    The trust lists "all worldly goods" owned by my father in law to go to my wife.

    When was the trust created?
    A few months before he passed.

    the debt involved with the bike does not simply disappear. I can see no harm is asking the lien holder what the lien is for. If you want to attempt to gain title to the bike, you will have to settle the lien anyway.
    We are not sure if we intend to attempt to gain title of the vehicle. It is in parts, and the majority of the parts are new in the box/package we were considering selling.

    Quote Quoting aardvarc
    View Post
    Check the title carefully. Does the title specify ownership to a living trust (do those two words "living trust" actually appear ON the title)?
    The bike title lists my father in laws name and the lien holders name.

    Quote Quoting aardvarc
    View Post
    Check the title carefully. Does the title specify ownership to a living trust (do those two words "living trust" actually appear ON the title)?
    The bike title lists my father in laws name and the lien holders name.

    Quote Quoting flyingron
    View Post
    Usually here we don't put the word "living" in the trust name. Typically it reads something like "The FlyingRon Trust, FlyingRon trustee"
    Thank you! Note taken and I will follow that guideline in the future!

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Inherited Motorcyle With a Lien

    The bike title lists my father in laws name and the lien holders name.
    then this was not part of the trust.

    I would seriously question the trust situation. Anything that has a title (cars, motorcycles, houses) must have the ownership transferred to the trust for it to be held by the trust. You stated that did not happen with the motorcycle so it was not held by the trust. I would wonder if anything was done properly concerning the trust.

    What is the value of the estate/trust?

  7. #7

    Default Re: Inherited Motorcyle With a Lien

    THanks for your help and inquiries! I too have a feeling things were not done properly. THe trust was notarized but aside from that I think he used a computer software program to make it!

    There wasn't much of value left behind. Personal belongings, $600 cash and 3 vehicles (including the Motorcycle). The other two vehicles values combined are probably $5k.

    He held no real estate titles.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Inherited Motorcyle With a Lien

    did he transfer the titles to the other vehicles to the trust in a similar fashion as flyingron described? If not, he did not place any of the vehicles he didn't re-title into the trust so they must be dealt with through probate, small estate administration, or, in some states, there is an administrative action available through the department of motor vehicles to allow the transfer of titles without opening probate. I have not checked which, if any, are applicable to you.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Inherited Motorcyle With a Lien

    No he did not. None of them were transferred into the trusts name, they remained in his name only.

    We have already transferred the titles into our name for two of the other vehicles. Prior to his death he had signed the title over to my wife. They were only able to transfer the titles because he had signed them over to her months before. We just had our hands full and weren't able to transfer them closer to when he signed them over. DMV charged us $15 for the delay.

    Please pardon my lack of knowledge in probate, liens etc but I have another question. At what point would his estate enter into probate? If someone came looking for something they they were owed? He has no other family that would come looking for anything. And my wife, not being of blood or marriage relation, how would anyone come into contact with us regarding probate?

    Thank you for bearing with me on this, I appreciate everyone's help!

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