Should I drive a deceased person's car? - Jacksonville Attorney, Kellen Bryant

Should I drive a deceased person’s car?

by Kellen Bryant

My parent just died in Florida and probate has not started, should I drive the parent’s car around to run some errands?

No.  Driving a deceased relative’s car around could expose the estate to liability.  In Florida, the owner of a car that causes an auto accident will be liable for damages.  If that owner is dead, then the owner’s estate will be liable for the damages.

For example, dad is single with 4 kids and is living off of $700,000 in stock that is going to be split equally between the kids.  Dad passes away leaving a Dodge Ram pickup.   One of the kids gets into dad’s truck to buy milk and rams into the back of another car, which causes major injuries to the other driver.  Other driver sues the estate and the jury awards him $2 million.  That $700,000 will be gone to settle the personal injury claim.

Don’t let your siblings drive your parent’s car until the probate lawyer take care of the title transfer to the correct beneficiary.

To prevent potential liability while keeping the car up, follow the Rain Man rule: “Dad lets me drive the car on the driveway, only on Sundays though.”

My child is turning 16, how should Junior’s car be titled so my assets are not affected if Junior gets in an accident?

If you read my first point, then you already know that a Florida car owner is liable if someone else drives the owner’s car and causes a wreck.  If you are liable and insurance does not cover everything, then your wages and savings could be at stake.  Title Junior’s car in his own name if you get him a car, or hide your keys if you don’t get him a car.

 

Previous post:

Next post: