How to Transfer the Car Title After Death of the Owner

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Dealing with the death of a loved one is never an easy process. 

If the descendent had a vehicle titled in their name, you’ll need to take the necessary steps to transfer ownership after death. 

Note that if the vehicle title is co-owned, the ownership will typically transfer to the surviving co-owner upon the other co-owner’s death. 

Additionally, if the deceased person’s estate is in the probate process, vehicle transfers will generally be handled as part of the probate process. 

Documents Needed to Transfer a Car Title After the Owner Has Died

To transfer a title after the death of the owner, you’ll typically need to be prepared with the following documents:

  • The certificate of title. 
  • An original or certified copy of the death certificate. 
  • A copy of the will, if applicable. 
  • Letters Testamentary or Letters of Administration, if applicable. 
  • The deceased owner’s driver’s license. 
  • Transfer with/without Probate forms, if applicable. 
  • Application for a Title Transfer. 
  • Statement of Facts forms and/or Affidavits. 
  • Payment for any transfer fees. 

When submitting the documents, you may need to provide your relation to the deceased owner as well. 

In some states, you may be able to complete this process in person, by mail, or online through your state’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).

Transfer on Death (TOD) Beneficiary

In some states, the registered owner of a vehicle is able to include a transfer on death beneficiary on the title while they are still alive. 

This process involves:

  • Filling out the New Registered Owner section of the title with the beneficiaries information. 
  • Indicating that this person is listed as the Transfer on Death (TOD) beneficiary. 

Upon death the owner, the beneficiary will then need to submit:

  • The filled out and signed title. 
  • The necessary Statement of Facts and/or Affidavit forms. 
  • Payment for the title transfer fees.

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