How do you transfer a vehicle title? It is a frequently asked question. The process to transfer a vehicle title is quite simple. The Texas Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) has all the necessary forms to accomplish this task. And you can most likely do the transfer yourself. Although when transferring the title of a vehicle owned by someone who has passed away, having an attorney can certainly make things easier on you. Before you complete the forms to transfer a vehicle title, you should have some information at the ready.

Information Needed to Transfer

  • Year, make, model, and body style of the vehicle
  • License plate number and vehicle identification number (VIN)
  • Mileage of the vehicle
  • Full name of the one who will get the vehicle
  • The original title (Note: If you cannot find it, you may need to get a replacement title.)
  • If there is a lien on the vehicle, the name and address of the lien holder are needed. (Note: The title cannot be transferred until the lien is paid off.)

Transferring the Vehicle Title of Someone Who is Deceased

If the owner of a vehicle dies and leaves a will, the will may state what is to happen with the vehicle. It may clearly state who gets the vehicle. It may state that the vehicle is to be sold and the proceeds be given to one or more people. Or, it may not state who gets the vehicle at all. In that case, what to do with the vehicle is up to the executor. Once the will is probated and the executor named in the will receives the Letters Testamentary, the executor has the legal authority to dispose of the vehicle according to the terms of the Will.

DMV Forms

If the owner of a vehicle dies without a will, the title can be transferred without probate using the DMV’s Affidavit of Heirship for a Motor Vehicle.

The Beneficiary Designation for a Motor Vehicle form is used when an owner or joint owners designate a beneficiary to whom interest in the motor vehicle transfers upon the death of the owner or last surviving owner. The designated beneficiary has no interest in the vehicle until the owner’s (or last-surviving owner’s) death.

The Rights of Survivorship Ownership Agreement for a Motor Vehicle Application allows spouses to create a right of survivorship for the vehicle. By signing this document, the spouses agree they will have joint ownership of the vehicle. When one of them dies, ownership of the vehicle automatically vests in the surviving spouse.

For each transfer of a motor vehicle, the Application for Texas Title and/or Registration must be completed. Until the title to the vehicle is transferred, the estate of the person who died remains liable for anyone who drives it. If the vehicle is involved in a collision, the estate could be sued. It is best not to use the vehicle until it is sold. When you do sell it, you should go with the buyer to the DMV office and oversee the transfer of the title. You could also submit a Texas Motor Vehicle Transfer Notification to the DMV.

Have any questions about transferring vehicle titles? Please contact the Law Office of Kim M. Pettit at (210) 558-4572 or contact me below. I look forward to working with you.