How to Transfer a Vehicle without Probate

We sometimes get inquiries about how to transfer a vehicle without going through probate.  In some cases, the only asset that the deceased person owned is the vehicle. In these situations, Florida law allows the certificate of title to be transferred to the heir or beneficiary of the deceased person, without any need for a formal court proceeding.

Florida law is very specific that formal estate administration is not required for the transfer of ownership of a motor vehicle. If the deceased did not leave a Will, the vehicle can be transferred to an heir without probate simply by providing DMV with the certificate of title or other satisfactory proof of ownership, a completed application, and an affidavit stating that the estate is not indebted and that the surviving spouse (if there is one) and the heirs agree about how the estate should be divided. If the estate is indebted or the heirs cannot agree, then probate is required.

In similar fashion, if the deceased died with a Will, a vehicle can be transferred outside of probate by providing the certificate of title and completed application along with a similar affidavit stating that the estate is not indebted. If the Will is being offered for probate, a certified copy of the Will is needed. If the Will is not being offered for probate, a sworn copy of the Will is needed.  At that point, the vehicle will be transferred to the recipient identified in the Will.

There isn’t a limit on how many cars or mobile homes can be transferred without probate using the affidavit procedure. Remember, however, a vehicle cannot be transferred if the deceased had any debts. In that case, the heirs or beneficiaries must either pay the debts in full before filing the affidavit or open a probate proceeding to deal with creditor claims.

The affidavit is usually filed through the county tax collector’s office.  The tax collector’s office can provide the forms and instructions on how to transfer title. Once completed, the affidavit can be left with the tax collector’s office, along with the applicable fee.  The tax collector’s office will process the affidavit with DMV.

Written by Legacy Planning Law Group

Legacy Planning Law Group is dedicated to working with individuals and families to help protect the assets they have built throughout their life, and make everything simpler for families who have lost a loved one. We help thoughtful people achieve the peace of mind that comes with planning their personal legacy and passing on family harmony.

Written by Legacy Planning Law Group

Legacy Planning Law Group is dedicated to working with individuals and families to help protect the assets they have built throughout their life, and make everything simpler for families who have lost a loved one. We help thoughtful people achieve the peace of mind that comes with planning their personal legacy and passing on family harmony.