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What happens to your automobile when you're gone?

It's not something that most people like to think about but once you have passed, something has to be done with all of your possession, including your car. What your heirs must do, however, can vary depending on the circumstances.

If you leave behind a surviving husband or wife, he or she will be your sole heir, and it is a fairly simple process to transfer the title of the vehicle over to their name. If your husband or wife passed ahead of you or you were divorced and now your heirs are just your children, then generally all of your children will have to go to the office of the Secretary of State so that they can sign paperwork to transfer the vehicle out of your name. If it is decided that one of your children is to receive the vehicle as part of their inheritance, then the rest of your children would sign a certificate that they have no interest in having the vehicle.

Interestingly, if your vehicle is only in your name, yet the total value of the vehicles you own is a value of less than $60,000, and you have no other property to be probated, your heirs can then simply transfer the title of the vehicle into their own name. All they would need to do is to show your death certificate, proof they are an heir such as their identification at the Secretary of State Office and then fill out the appropriate form.

Although there are different rules that apply to watercraft and mobile homes, your heirs can do the same for other vehicles that you own, such as motorcycles, four wheelers or other types of recreational vehicles.

Individuals who are interested in learning more about the probate process may find it beneficial to speak with an experienced estate planning attorney.

Source: The Times Herald, "What do we do with the car in an estate?," Matthew M. Wallace, May. 02, 2015

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Schwartz Law Firm
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