Seniors

Transfer on Death for cars

It's important to make plans for what will happen to vehicles you own after you die. Learn how to use Transfer on Death to transfer your car without a will and avoid probate court.

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Understanding the Basics

See what you need to know to take action.

You don't have to have will to transfer your car after you die. A Transfer on Death (TOD) is a legal document that can transfer your car without a will. This means that your car will not have to go through the probate court. Going through the probate court can cost your loved ones time and money after you are gone. You can transfer your home or car outside of probate court, if you set up the right TODs.

How to create a Transfer on Death for your car

  • Complete the BMV TOD form. Include the name of one or more recipients.
  • Take the form to a notary. You need to sign the form in front of a notary, and have it stamped. Make several copies of the stamped form for your records.
  • Submit the form at your county’s Clerk of Courts Title Office. When you submit the form, they will reissue a title that includes your TOD. There will be a small fee for the new title. Open Local Government and Community Resources to find your county's Title Office.

If you're married

You might not need a TOD to transfer your car to your spouse if you die first. Your husband or wife can use the BMV's surviving spouse form to transfer vehicles without a TOD. The surviving spouse can transfer an unlimited number of vehicles worth up to $65,000 total.

Payable on Death for bank accounts

You can also transfer the money in your bank accounts without going through probate. You can add a "Payable on Death" (POD) beneficiary to any bank account for free. This person will be able to access the money in your account when you die. Call or visit your local bank branch to find out how to name a POD beneficiary.

Tell your loved ones your plans

Communication is important when it comes to your financial plans. Make sure that your loved ones know your plans. It can feel uncomfortable to talk about money, but it will make things easier when you're gone. It's also a good idea to keep your important documents together in a safe place—that your loved ones can find.

Forms and Letters

Find forms and letters that you can fill out yourself.

Local Government and Community Resources

Find courts and helpful resources in your community.