If a buyer dies during a car sale, and the car was already reproted sold to the DMV but not registered, what happens?


  1. The car registration get unfrozen back to the seller after you inform the dmv?


  1. Does the car go to the buyers estate and is picked up by whoever gets the inheritance?

2 sounds more legal but 1 sounds easier for the dmv.

1 Answer 1


You can’t die “during” a sale

The formation of a contract is instantaneous, if the buyer dies they have to die before there was a contract in which case the seller keeps the car or after there was one in which case the buyer’s executor and the seller must do everything necessary to complete the sale (or breach the contract and get sued).

This has nothing to do with any administrative obligations that either party owes to a third party like the DMV. Failing to properly transfer title may lead to complications and disputes latter on but it doesn’t directly affect the contract.

  • The is a quirky variation on that. If the sale is conducted by someone who is a POA agent for the owner and the agent executes the sale after the principal's death but before learning of the principal's death, there is a split of authority over what happens. The common law rule was that the sale was void. The modern rule in a majority of jurisdictions (probably including Nevada) is that the sale is valid.
    – ohwilleke
    Commented Mar 30, 2020 at 3:39

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