How to Transfer a Car Title in Florida After the Owner Dies

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    How to Transfer a Car Title in Florida After the Owner Dies?

    How to Transfer a Car Title in Florida After the Owner Dies

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    If you want to transfer a car title in Florida after someone dies, then you need to provide various documents and meet specific requirements. In this article, we’re going to make it easy to understand. Let’s take a look at how to transfer a car title in Florida after the owner dies:

    How to Transfer a Car Title in Florida Without Probate?

    Probate is a legal process that determines how to administer the estate. It proves a will is legitimate and verifies the deceased’s assets. Usually, a car cannot be transferred until the probate process is complete. This is especially true if someone dies without a will.

    Alternatively, the car may be the only asset that is calling for probate. In these scenarios, it can seem excessive to go in front of a Florida probate judge.

    Thankfully, there may be an easier option.

    Without a Will

    If there was no will, Florida Statute 319.28 states, in brief, that a Florida probate court order is not necessary for the certification of a title, if – the surviving spouse and heirs amicably agree upon it.

    This must be proven by filing, with the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), an affidavit that shows the estate is not indebted.

    With a Will

    If the previous owner died with a will then you must provide a sworn copy of the will and an affidavit that the estate is not indebted. If the deceased person had any debts, the creditor’s claims must be resolved first.

    Finally, Florida Statute 319.28 also says that any surviving spouse who would be entitled to the certificate of a car title in Florida and wishes to dispose of the vehicle, shall not be required to obtain a certificate of title in their name – but they may ‘assign to the transferee the certificate of the title which was issued to the decedent’.

    Note: A marriage certificate may also be required if the name of the surviving spouse isn’t displayed on the death certificate.

    Understandably, this all may seem complicated and we know you may be desperate to avoid the tiring probate process when transferring a car title in Florida after the owner dies.

    Remember, before making any decisions you should always contact a Florida estate planning attorney who will be happy to provide expert advice on your situation.

    Can Creditors Take the Car After Someone Dies?

    Florida law protects some ‘exempt property’ from creditors, even if debts are owed. One of those listed exemptions is ‘motor vehicles.

    However, this does not apply to dealerships or lenders who have been financing the vehicle.

    But a credit card company for example could not come after the car, for example.

    The statute only exempts up to two motor vehicles which must have been ‘regularly used as personal motor vehicles’ by either the decedent or their family members.

    What If The Car Was Joint Owned in a Marriage?

    If your loved one recently passed away with joint ownership with a husband or wife, then Florida probate is not required to transfer a car title in Florida after the owner dies.

    The surviving spouse should be given an immediate certification of title, which can be achieved by going to the DMV with a copy of the death certificate and the title.

    The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicle form that allows a surviving spouse to apply for the transfer of title from a deceased spouse can be found here.

    What Happens to a Person’s Car Insurance After Their Death?

    The answer to this varies depending on the car insurance policy. It’s a good idea to take a look at the decedent’s policy and see if it terminates upon their death, or if it will continue to protect the estate.

    How to Plan in Advance?

    You may be reading this with a proactive mind, rather than following a recent death.

    Through careful estate planning, you can ensure the transfer of a car title in Florida to your family or friends, after your death is easy.

    For example, a trust allows you to create a roadmap for how you want your assets to be distributed after your death and removes liability from the creator.

    Similarly, a valid will can ensure your last wishes are protected after you die – so your assets or their value remain in the family, with minimal stress for your loved ones. You can decide who gets what.

    However, if you die without a will or trust then you risk leaving your assets at the judgment of the Florida probate court. What happens then will be unpredictable and not based on your vision.

    If you want to create a will, trust or receive expert estate planning advice, then contact our Florida estate planning attorney team.

    Contact a Florida Probate Attorney

    If you want to transfer a car title in Florida after the owner dies but are confused or facing complications, you can contact a Florida probate attorney.

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    Battaglia, Ross, Dicus & McQuaid, P.A. is U.S. News and World Reports Tier 1 law firm in Florida, specializing in Estate Planning & Probate since 1958. With award-winning experienced attorneys, they can help you avoid the long and complicated probate process.

    Schedule a free consultation today to get started or to get any questions answered.

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