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I love going to car shows and seeing all the amazing classic cars that have been restored to their former glory. The work some people put into these vehicles is both inspiring and intimidating — which is why I’ve never picked up a classic car for myself — until my great uncle passed away and I inherited his 1967 Chevy Impala. The car was in decent shape, but it had definitely seen better days. I loved it immediately, so I found myself wondering — what do I do now?
If you’re in a similar situation, here are some of the tips and tricks I learned to help make inheriting a classic car a little bit easier.
Navigate the Paperwork
This is probably the biggest pain I’ve ever had to deal with — navigating inheritance paperwork. If you’re lucky, you’ll have a lawyer to help you figure out the worst of it. I didn’t. I was lucky in that my great uncle had a very detailed will, so once it went through probate, all I needed was a certified copy. The car title was signed by the executor of the estate, and I was able to get the title transferred into my name.
If the deceased didn’t leave a will outlining their wishes, you need an affidavit of inheritance signed by all the heirs and a copy of the death certificate. If the inheritance is contested, you will need an inheritance lawyer to help you sort everything out.
Bringing It Home
The next step is to get your classic car home. In my case, the car was in decent enough shape that I was able to drive it, but if your inherited classic isn’t running, you may have to pay to have it shipped home. You can pay an auto-shipper to bring it home for you, or you can rent an a-frame from U-Haul or other similar companies and tow it back yourself.
The next step is to ensure you have somewhere to store your new classic car. The last thing you want to do is take your car home and leave it sitting out on the driveway, exposed to the elements or the grubby hands of thieves.
In my case, that meant cleaning all the clutter out of my garage and investing in an insulated door to keep my new, old car safe from the elements. Like many people, my garage had become a catch-all for the stuff that didn’t fit in my house anymore. Before I brought the car home, I spent a weekend sorting through all of my clutter. I even had a decent yard sale that helped pay for the cost of title transfer and fuel to get the car home.
Get to Work
Once you’ve got the car home, the next step is to get to work — if you’re planning on keeping it. Once it’s parked in your garage, you’ve got plenty of space and hopefully plenty of time to restore the car to its former glory.
If you are planning on selling the car, then you need to refer back to the first section above. Selling an inherited car is a lot simpler if the title is in your name.
Inheriting a Classic Car
Inheriting a classic car can be a great way to get your hands on a nice vehicle, but only if you’re prepared to navigate the paperwork, get the car home and have somewhere ready to store it. Thankfully, will probate takes a while, so you’ll have plenty of time to get everything ready to bring your new car home.