What to do After Inheriting a Classic Car

Written by guest author: Maria Rivera


Inheriting A Classic Car: 6 Tips For A Smooth Transaction

Every gear head secretly dreams of that long lost uncle leaving them a perfect barn find classic car. Here are steps to do after inheriting a classic car.

Unless you’re a devoted motorhead, a classic car is one of those rare commodities you only ever dream of owning. If you are fortunate enough to inherit a classic car from a parent or loved one, you now own something truly special.

However, inheriting such a beauty isn’t always as easy or blissful as it may seem. Before you actually get to drive into the sunset with the windows rolled down and recreate your favorite Old Hollywood movie, there are major steps you have to take first. Inheriting a classic car often requires a lot of unforeseen paperwork and repairs, but with a little guidance, you can make the process less stressful and tedious.

Hire an Attorney

You may not need to begin here if your relative left behind a detailed and uncontested will, but even then you still have to go through a process called probate. Probate is the process used to execute the will and transfer the belongings of the deceased to the inheritors. It’s during this process that the car title is transferred to your name and the state is allowed to collect tax on your new item. Yes, you still have to pay taxes on your inherited car. Although the probate process is fairly simple, there are many forms required and hiring an attorney can save you a lot of stress. You also want to find out what the probate process is in the jurisdiction of the deceased, which is where the will is to be executed and where you will need to complete the probate process.

Get an Appraisal

It is important for you to know the value of your car even if you don’t intend to sell it so you may want to hire a car inspector or someone to appraise your car. During the appraisal process, you will find out what makes the car unique as well as what needs to be replaced or repaired. You need this car to be able to pass a state inspection in order to drive it and enjoy it, so you’ll want to repair and restore the car. Besides, you’ll need to know how much the car is worth when you insure it, which brings us to our next step.


Such a rare and delicate item like a classic car requires high-quality insurance, and this is where you won’t want to settle. There are even companies that specialize in insuring classic cars so you may want to favor this option. You’ll want to perform thorough research on which companies insure your specific car and just how much they will cover and in which cases they will cover your car. This is also why it is important to have the car appraised should anything happen to your car in the event of a major accident.

Get it Shipped

Uncle Fred may have given you one of his most prized possessions, but it may not be of use to you if you live on the opposite coast. Odds are, a classic car can’t afford to drive long distances, and if your new precious belonging is across the country, the easiest way to obtain it is to pay to have it shipped. You want to make sure this beauty is in good hands, so you want to be particular and careful about who you choose to ship your car.

Keep it Safe

Once you have gone through all of the tedious paperwork and you’ve obtained your title, you’ll want to find a safe place to store it in advance. Your insurance may cover you in the event of an accident, but you still want to protect your collector’s item especially from mother nature. Sunlight, hail, tree branches, and even snow can lead to major deterioration of your car. There’s no better way to preserve your car in pristine condition than to keep it safe in a garage or covered parking.

Restore it

Now that you’ve put in all the leg work to obtain your inherited car, you can begin delving into the fun part of owning a classic car; the restoration process. There’s nothing quite like transforming what appears to be a piece of junk into a collector’s item. To restore your new car, you’ll want to replace any necessary engine parts, apply a new coat of paint, detail and polish the car. You’ll also want a spare key in case the original ever gets lost, and you need a car key replacement. Just know that you can really invest a lot of money into restoring an old car so whichever repairs you invest in, should not be done to sell the car for profit.

Inheriting a classic car can be a long process, but it’s well worth it, and if you know exactly what to expect, you know that your patience will be compensated.

Author Bio

Maria Rivera is a tech writer and marketing specialist at Keyless Entry Remote, Inc. She currently resides in Austin, TX.

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