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
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.