Can I Transfer the Title of a Vehicle if Its Owner Has Died?
May 17th, 2018
Whether you can transfer the title of a vehicle belonging to a deceased owner depends in large part on your relationship to the deceased owner, how the title is held, and whether there is an estate that is in probate. The easiest situation is if you are the deceased’s surviving spouse and you hold the title jointly with the deceased. In that case, all you have to do is bring a copy of your spouse’s death certificate to a Michigan Secretary of State Branch Office, and they will transfer the title solely into your name. However, if the deceased solely held the title, there is no estate, and you are a surviving spouse, or the closest next-of-kin (in the absence of a surviving spouse), you can transfer the title into your name by completing and submitting a simple form to a Michigan Secretary of State Branch Office, along with the title, current registration or place number (if there is one), and a copy of the death certificate. If you transfer the vehicle to a surviving spouse or immediate family member, then you can keep the existing license plate on the vehicle.
If there is a probate estate for the deceased, the Personal Representative of the estate will assign the title to the appropriate surviving spouse or next-of-kin. That person will take a copy of the Personal Representative’s Letter of Authority document and the title to a Michigan Secretary of State Branch Office in order to get the title transferred from the decedent’s name into his or her name.
No matter what type of issue you may be facing, you need an attorney who can provide you the help necessary to create an estate plan that is right for you and your family. Taking this step will alleviate problems with your assets in the future, which can be costly, time-consuming, and complex. At Legacy Law Center, our Ann Arbor elder law attorneys can help you through any situations that may arise as you work through the estate planning process.