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Technical Need title for car in PA - title lost, previous owner unknown

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by andk5591, Sep 4, 2014.

  1. andk5591
    Joined: Aug 9, 2012
    Posts: 9

    andk5591
    Member

    Yeah I know - not worth the hassle, but here's the deal - I am in PA. Bought a trio of parts cars from the daughter of a deceased friend. He routinely would have people give him cars that they had not interest in fixing. Most times they were simply parts cars.

    Well in this group, there is a 64 bug that is worth restoring. Have no concerns at all about the car being stolen and it was in my deceased friends possesion for at least 10 years, sitting out and very visible. I have read about getting letters from judges and all that stuff, but also have heard about folks getting the car titled or something in Vermont or someplace like that and then getting a PA title. Is anyone aware of anyone that provides this type of service. Thanks
     
  2. Why couldn't the daughter apply for a duplicate title? I think if she brought a copy of the death certificate and she has proper ID, the DMV would send it to her at her residence. Just a thought. I recently dealt with a similar issue with a recently deceased uncle and an OT jeep Cherokee. My cousin didn't have the title and it was lost, but he was the rightful heir. Did the bug have a title originally?
     
  3. Mr48chev
    Joined: Dec 28, 2007
    Posts: 29,077

    Mr48chev
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    We just did something similar on a camper that I got from a lady here in Yakima. We met at the license office, she presented her husbands death certificate and they found the info on the title and pay cash, sign here sign there and out the door I went with a new registration and tags for the camper. If the bug was titled in his name that will work. If it sat there and never got put in his name there are legit methods to deal with that too but they differ by state.
    It's always worth going through all the hiding places in the interior too as the title may actually be in a batch of papers in the glove box or some other spot. I had that happen with a did not have a title rig a couple of years ago.
     
  4. I did the vermont title thing and......it aint cheap!!!! Had to pay tax in vermont, had to pay tax in Maryland and pay the "title company" all together it was about $750.
     

  5. prpmmp
    Joined: Dec 12, 2011
    Posts: 1,075

    prpmmp
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    You could try getting a salvage title. Locate a enhanced inspection station in Pa.,not all Pa. inspection stations can do it. Need receipts on your restoration and pay Pa. tax. ( I believe there are some members that are enhanced inspection station, they can help if they chime in) Pete
     
  6. The DMV could also run the VIN and check to see who was the last owner to be sure. If the owner is still alive or lives close, and it's still in his name, you could have him/her apply for a duplicate title also. Or you could have a relative of the deceased previous owner go down to the DMV and apply for a duplicate title. I would exhaust any chance of getting an original title or a copy of it before I start looking into getting a salvage or rebuilders title...that gets expensive quick!.
     
  7. andk5591
    Joined: Aug 9, 2012
    Posts: 9

    andk5591
    Member

    OK - I UNDERSTAND potential ramifications - no lectures needed. If I didnt know the guy who is dead, I wouldn't even consider this. He didnt do funny stuff and I don't either. This guy had a shop for years - most of the cars had titles, but these couple didnt. What happened is that some folks felt better about donating the car to him rather than scrap it and sometimes they couldnt find the title, but it didnt matter to anyone since there were no plans to restore or resell them. I was there one of the times when someone "dumped" a car on him. It happens. My understanding is that doing a VIN search for something this old in PA is futile, but I was thinking that I should do it anyway. So - that will be step one. Beyond that I was looking for solutions specific to being in PA. As mentioned each state is different.

    The easy way would be to "buy" a vin and title from a scrapped car - but that is just plain wrong. So trying to find a legit way to do this. Any specifics on who and how would be really appreciated. I can be emailed directly at andk5591@aol.com
     
  8. tfeverfred
    Joined: Nov 11, 2006
    Posts: 15,792

    tfeverfred
    Member

    Why don't you go down to the DMV and ask them what you need to do? They're the one's you'll be dealing with. Get your info from the source.
     
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  9. plym_46
    Joined: Sep 8, 2005
    Posts: 4,018

    plym_46
    Member
    from central NY

    Download pa dot chapter 73 and other info on abandoned vehicles, and application for salvage title from unknown owner.
     
  10. First of all, ignore anyone who can't tell you specifics for PA.

    Next, I've sold a few cars to other states and it apparently is not that hard to get a PA title on a car without any, to the point that that's what New Jersey guys do because they really give you the third degree.

    Last, a NY registration is pretty easy if you have a friend in NYS, although it will cost a couple hundred bucks, the guy who does it will get a credit when you cancel it.

    One other thing, so far as I know Vermont doesn't title cars more than 15 years old, registration only, just like New York is on 1972 and back.
     
  11. andk5591
    Joined: Aug 9, 2012
    Posts: 9

    andk5591
    Member

    Rusty - sent you a PM (conversation?)
     
  12. Why don't more people just do this?
     
  13. Pennsy has what are called tag places. They are public stores (not official DMV) that do tags, titles, liscence renewals etc... They usually know all the tricks in the book (what forms to fill out, documents needed etc) and the best way to go about titling a car in the state. That's where I go when I need tag work done. Maybe see if ya got one locally.
    -Pat
     
  14. andk5591
    Joined: Aug 9, 2012
    Posts: 9

    andk5591
    Member

    Ya know - I may be making this more complicated than it needs to be. Did initial research on the web and got these horror stories about doing this in PA. And of course since its on the internet it must be true..... I contacted the courthouse (per title company suggestion) and got the run down so far. . I am apologizing in advance for possibly wasting everyones time.

    Here's the steps, but I would verify the steps with your local courthouse :

    #1 Write a letter to "Honorable Judge" addressed to the Prothonatary office. The letter will include make, model, year, VIN and description. Supply any background information and copies of any supporting documents you may have. Include your name, phone number and address along with a check for $10 written to the Prothonatary.

    #2 Apparently they schedule a hearing that you must attend. Have no idea how long that will be.

    #3 Don't know what's next - but my understanding is that I will get a document allowing me to get a title. I suspect this process will take a month or two.
     
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2014
  15. Mike51Merc
    Joined: Dec 5, 2008
    Posts: 3,856

    Mike51Merc
    Member

    I happen to be a Pennsylvania lawyer and you cannot get anything accomplished by writing letters to judges. It just doesn't work that way.

    I've gotten titles for repair shops--- in many/most states a mechanic can just hold a lien sale, but in Pa you have to go to court. I've never tried to title an abandoned vehicle, so this is new to me too.

    The bottom line is that you need to gather all the info you can about the car. If it was not titled in the name of the deceased, then the deceased has nothing to do with it. You can do a VIN trace through PennDot and find the most recent previous owner. After you find the owner, you have to petition the court for a title and serve the previous owner with the petition.
     
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2014
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  16. oldolds
    Joined: Oct 18, 2010
    Posts: 3,153

    oldolds
    Member

    I recently sat in of the course to become a Notary in PA. That is the start of it. Next the judge may order you to advertise the car to find out who owns it ( Judges discretion). Then you will prob wind up with a salvage certificate that you can turn into a title. He can also go with state issued VIN. They do not usually let it go straight to title.
    That is how I remember it from a year ago.
     
  17. Yes sir, it seemed to me, as well, that the DMV would have the first place to obtain the needed info, to get a title in hand.
    Any other info is "maybe yes or maybe no" info.:)
     
  18. andk5591
    Joined: Aug 9, 2012
    Posts: 9

    andk5591
    Member

    Well - the prothonatary indicated that this is how they do it and it is done successfully. The title company is who advised me to contact them and same deal - they say that the people come back later and are able to get a title. Just going by what I have been told by local 2 experts. I indicated that I will have to attend a hearing on the matter on my step #2. Once again - will go through the process and report back what happens. I think the added complication would depend on the circumstances....
     
  19. LongT
    Joined: May 11, 2005
    Posts: 957

    LongT
    Member

    You may also get some help from your local state representative. I did that when I got my T licensed. My rep. even listed automotive title help as a service to her constituents on a brochure that she sent out. Of course my title was for a car that never had a title as it was built from materials.

    Bill
     
  20. legend
    Joined: Oct 4, 2007
    Posts: 198

    legend
    Member
    from Irwin PA

    I work in the Prothonotarys office Western Pa. I have seen many petitions for title come into to our office. After the hearing before the Judge ( I think they ask you to prove you have tried to contact the previous owner) he will sign a court order with the vin number requesting PA DMV to issue you a title. the order is filed in the prothonotarys office and you get a certified copy of the order to send to DMV. I have certified many orders since they have started this never heard back from any of the people. I assume they are issued a title.
     
  21. falcongeorge
    Joined: Aug 26, 2010
    Posts: 18,341

    falcongeorge
    Member
    from BC

    because as a general rule, it doesnt work. I worked for the equivalent of the DMV here in BC for 20 years, and if you walk into 98.9% of the offices around here, the person on the other side of the counter will a) have no idea how to go about it, and b) because they have no idea how to go about it, simply tell you it cant be done, and go back to whatever they were doing when you came in.
    Now assuming you are lucky enough to walk into one of the .02% of offices where there is a guy who a)has some idea how to do it, and b) isnt on lunch, you will still be told by the person on the counter that it cant be done. If you are REALLY lucky, the guy sitting at the desk at the back that knows how to do it will overhear this, and if you arent behaving like a dick, will come up to the counter, tell the rookie that told you it couldn't be done to go print some invoices or do some filing, and help you out.
     
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2014
  22. 5window
    Joined: Jan 29, 2005
    Posts: 8,116

    5window
    Member

    One thing for certain, at some point you are going to have to assign some sort of value to the vehicle and pay sales tax on it. The Common wealth's not too picky on the value and tends to not question something you picked as "reasonable" but they will insist on this payment. Second, as previously mentioned, make sure you use your state representative for anything you send to Harrisburg. They will take and deliver it for you and, from personal experience, the DMV does not hassle the reps as they might an individual. The state rep's job is to help their constituents move through the pitfalls of state government (it clearly is not passing a budget or working with the other politcal party to maybe improve our lives :) ) so let them do their job.

    I would also suggest you contact a AAA office locally. They do a lot of this stuff and they are pretty good with the rules and the forms and the paperwork. There'll be a Notary there as well. I use the folks in Lewisburg-not too far from State College. You can ask for Betty or Sharon. The number's
    (570) 524-7455.
     
  23. andk5591
    Joined: Aug 9, 2012
    Posts: 9

    andk5591
    Member

    OK - good - I work with my local AAA for all of my stuff - But the manager did indicate the one time about not having a title is a real pain. But following the steps should make it fly. And my State Rep is an old buddy as well as a car guy - currently into old Corvairs, so if I need his help, I can call him. Will get moving on this next week. So thanks for all the input and I hope these posts will help somone in the future.
     
  24. 5window
    Joined: Jan 29, 2005
    Posts: 8,116

    5window
    Member

  25. Mike51Merc
    Joined: Dec 5, 2008
    Posts: 3,856

    Mike51Merc
    Member

    It can be done successfully, by filing a petition (in proper petition format), not by "writing a letter" to the judge.

    You're still going to be held to a "due diligence" standard regarding finding the previous owner (or the heirs of the previous owner).

    Keep us posted on your results.
     
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  26. Mike51Merc
    Joined: Dec 5, 2008
    Posts: 3,856

    Mike51Merc
    Member

    Yeah, that's the process if the vehicle was already in your name and you lost the title. Doesn't help with the problem here.
     
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  27. ken1939
    Joined: Jul 5, 2008
    Posts: 1,558

    ken1939

    PA Stinks for this kind of stuff Period. Years of experience has proven that.
     
  28. falcongeorge
    Joined: Aug 26, 2010
    Posts: 18,341

    falcongeorge
    Member
    from BC

    from what I am reading on this thread, still a damn sight better than BC...
     
  29. PA must have a fairly simple option because New Jersey is a real proctological exam if you show up without a title to the point that the last couple cars we sold down there got PA titles and then got "sold" to New Jersey owners.
     

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