Move Cars Out of Estate Quickly

We do not like cars or trucks in an estate.

Under Florida law, the owner of a vehicle is normally liable for accidents caused by the car, and that liability is not limited to the car insurance limits. So an estate with $200,000 in stocks and bonds can see all of that disappear in the event of an auto accident claim exceeding policy limits. Given that many auto owners carry liability coverage of $300,000 or less, many serious personal injury claims can exceed the coverage and threaten the estate assets.

So often we try to get the cars sold or distributed early in an estate. But what about an older car that no one in the family wants, and the executor cannot easily sell it? An option that may exist, but is often overlooked, is to donate the car to charity, which normally means to turn it over to a vehicle donation program set up to handle that donation from start to finish.

One such program that has national exposure is, which claims to return an average of 80% of the vehicle proceeds to the charity chosen. Their list of charity partners is impressive, and includes charities such as the Society of St. Vincent de Paul and Ronald McDonald House.

Also, charitable donations from estates can sometimes help reduce income tax.

So if none of the heirs really wants that 1991 Mercury Marquis that Dad loved to drive, Dad’s estate may wish to donate the car to charity.