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Transfer of Vehicle Ownership for Descendent

Estate Planning Attorney Ann Arbor

The death of a spouse, parent, or friend invokes the depository provisions in one’s estate planning documents.  While the process to transfer tangible personal items can be simple, transferring an asset with a title can be more complex.  

Here are common scenarios for transferring vehicles in the State of Michigan: 

  • Spouse. If the deceased is survived by a spouse, the spouse is the next of kin who will receive the vehicle. First, the spouse must complete a form to transfer the vehicle. This form also applies if the vehicle will be transferred to another immediate family member. After the transfer, the license plate may remain on the vehicle.  There’s no transfer tax between spouses. 
  • Siblings. If the deceased has no surviving spouse, surviving brothers and sisters are the next closest kin in line to receive the vehicle. All siblings share equal inheritance of the vehicle. Siblings who don’t want the vehicle may complete a certification statement saying so. The next-of-kin has the option of adding a co-owner when the vehicle is titled. But if that co-owner is not an immediate family member or isn’t the spouse of the family member who is inheriting the vehicle, that co-owner must pay use tax.
  • Probate. If the deceased had a will, the deceased personal representative appointed by the probate court assigns the title of the deceased’s vehicle to a spouse or family member. That person must then present the title and a copy of the personal representative’s “Letter of Authority” to a branch office of the Secretary of State, where the vehicle may then by titled in his or her name. The license plate is inherited by the spouse or family member and may remain on the vehicle.
  • Joint title. If a person shares the title with the deceased and the title reads says that the full rights of the vehicle go to the survivor, then the process is relatively simple. The vehicle transfers to the other person on the title. In this situation, the person only needs to present the title and a copy of the death certificate. This applies even if the estate of the deceased is in probate.
  • Transfer on Death. As part of your estate planning, your attorney can create a “Transfer on Death” or “TOD”.  This is a document that you sign transferring the vehicle to another individual under MCL 700.6101 upon your death.  This can be taken to the Secretary of State to complete the transfer.  

Contact an Estate Planning Attorney in Ann Arbor to Help You!

Talk to your estate planning attorney in Ann Arbor about your assets and creating a will today. Have a conversation with your power of attorney about how they would handle your assets, and make sure that they would carry out your wishes. With the help of an experienced estate planning attorney at Pear Sperling Eggan & Daniels, P.C, you can feel relieved that your assets will be easily located, managed, and passed to your loved ones.

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