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How to Transfer Title after a Car Owner Dies

August 12th, 2019

Posted in Estate & Personal Planning

Transferring the title of a decedent’s vehicle is relatively easy in Florida, courtesy of Florida Statute 319.28.  The initial step in transferring a vehicle title is assessing the ownership.  If the vehicle is owned jointly, then it automatically passes to the co-owner by operation of law at death.

For example, a vehicle titled John Smith and Mary Smith automatically passes to Mary Smith upon John Smith’s passing and vice versa.  Contact the DMV to update the title along with a death certificate.  Form 82152 can be used by surviving spouses.  The DMV’s website is here:  FL DMV

What if the vehicle is solely owned by the decedent?  To transfer title, you will need to determine whether there was a Will.  If so, the application (Form HSMV 82040) will need to be accompanied by a copy of the Will and an affidavit stating the estate can pay its creditors.

Without a Will, the application (Form HSMV 82040) will need to be accompanied by an agreement showing the surviving spouse and heirs have agreed on the transfer and an affidavit stating the estate can pay its creditors. Additionally, other considerations can arise, such as claiming an exemption to place the vehicle beyond the reach of creditors, cancelling insurance policies, and other issues. It’s recommended that you consult your probate attorney in these instances.

Andrew Jackson, Esq.
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