Estates can be complex to handle, and vehicles present special challenges. Cars and trucks require periodic maintenance, their value declines with age, and they must be insured and stored. All of the above factors make it beneficial for owners to pass their vehicles on as quickly as possible. A estate planning attorney in Azle TX, may be able to help a client keep such an asset out of probate if:
* The vehicle was owned jointly
* Is registered on a TOD (transfer on death) form
* It qualifies for special procedures under state laws
The state’s DMV website is a good place to find specific information about legal options for vehicle transfer.
Vehicles That Were Jointly Owned
If a vehicle is owned jointly, the survivor can simply transfer the title into their name. Texas’ DMV will have instructions and forms to complete the transfer. The survivor will need the car title, proof of insurance, a copy of the decedent’s death certificate, and the vehicle’s registration. There might be a small fee to complete the title transfer.
If the auto was previously registered in Arizona, California, Indiana, Missouri, Nevada, Vermont, or one of several other states, refer to the title to see if a TOD beneficiary is listed. If there is one, that person can take the car without it going through probate. The beneficiary will need a copy of the decedent’s death certificate, the car registration, and the title.
Special Vehicle Transfer Rules for Spouses
In some locations, surviving spouses can automatically inherit a decedent’s cars unless otherwise provided for in the will or on a TOD form. For instance, Maine allows survivors to automatically inherit any vehicles owned by the decedent unless the will or a lienholder says otherwise. Vehicles can be transferred without taxes and fees. In other areas, spouses can inherit a certain number of vehicles as long as value doesn’t exceed a certain amount.
Estate planning can be an emotionally overwhelming process as a person makes plans for life to go on after they’re gone. By hiring an estate planning attorney in Azle TX, a client can ensure their vehicles and other personal assets are distributed according to their wishes, and they can continue providing for their family even after death.