Transferring ownership of a vehicle is one of the many things to consider when someone has passed away. It won’t be your number one priority in the tragic time, but eventually, you will need to process the administrative side of issues like vehicle ownership after the loss of a loved one.
When you are going through this process, a probate lawyer can help with the administrative side of inheriting possessions. If you are one of several people named in someone’s will then it can be confusing and a little bit difficult to transfer ownership of items, and to divide things up properly. A vehicle might just be a straightforward switch, though. You don’t necessarily have to wait for the process of probate which can take a long time.
What are the Requirements to Transfer Vehicle Ownership?
The person receiving the car needs to fill in a form for the DMV, the document is the Application for Certificate of Title. You can use the information of the deceased on the death certificate, and the other aspects of the form are simple things such as the license plate and the year and model. The VIN, the unique number which identifies the vehicle, will also be required.
Crucially, the form also needs the signature of all of the heirs surviving the person leaving the car.
It is important to get all the details on the Application for Certificate of Title right. Incorrect information can void the application altogether.
Required Documents and Fees
There will be a fee to pay when you mail all of the information to the Tax Collector’s Office. This varies from state to state, but the fee is often under $100. You can check with the County Tax Collector, but this needs to be the fee charged where the vehicle is currently registered.
You will also need a copy of your driver's license and the Certificate of Title for the automobile. To confirm your legal right to the vehicle, you need an affidavit to Fla Stat 319.28.
This sort of legal process is about providing as much information as you can. If you have a Last Will and Testament available, this should be included too. A sworn copy is required, but the affidavit can also be useful. The affidavit needs to explain that the estate you are inheriting the vehicle from is not in debt. If there is a debt in the estate, then the car might be needed to pay this off.
There are agencies who will help with the forms and the process of transferring ownership of a car after someone has passed away, but they are not always the best option. For a start, they can be very expensive, and when you consider the fact it is a simple form and some supporting evidence, this really shouldn’t be required.
How to Transfer a Car Title from State to State
Out of state transfers can be a little bit more complex. You will need to find information based on the specific state you are in, and your local DMV will be able to help. For example, some states will require you to use an “Application for Vehicle Transactions”. The forms required can all be found on your local DMV website. They also have guidelines on the out-of-state documents you might need for registering and transferring the title of a vehicle.
Check whether the previous owner has passed makes any difference to the forms you need to provide, but usually, there is just a small amount of evidence needed to prove that the vehicle is rightfully yours now.
As is the case with a lot of legal proceedings in the USA, there are some variations depending on which state you are in. Luckily, the DMV can help you, as they are a government agency handling the registration of vehicles. Most people are able to complete the forms so that the car never has to go through the full probate process, meaning that you don’t have a huge hassle to get the vehicle back on the road and to be able to claim it as your own. At this stage, the vehicle will be yours to use or even to sell on.
Donating the Vehicle
Here at Cars2Charities we understand that deciding what to do with a loved one’s car can be difficult and emotionally draining- that’s why we’ve made it simple and easy for donors to donate the vehicle. The best part? You get to decide which charity receives the proceeds of the car donation.