Cona Elder Law

Person driving a vehicle

How to Transfer Title to a Car After the Owner Passes Away

Most people pass away owning one or more cars in their name. Do you need to probate their Will to transfer the title to your name? Or to give the car to your child? Or to sell the car? With all the other responsibilities you have as an Executor or Administrator of an estate or even as an heir or beneficiary, what do you need to do to handle the car easily?

Transferring Title to a Car in New York State

You will need to probate the decedent’s Will or bring an Estate Administration proceeding in the Surrogate’s Court if there is no Will. The Court will issue Letters Testamentary (probate) or Letters of Administration (intestacy) which proves your legal authority to take action on behalf of the estate, including handling assets such as the car. You will also need an Order from the Surrogate’s Court directing the transfer of title to the car.  

Next, you will need to complete various Department of Motor Vehicle (DMV) forms to effectuate a title transfer, including Odometer Disclosure Statement (MV-103), Damage Disclosure Statement (part of MV-103), title certificate, and pay a transfer fee (currently $50). New York requires a Vehicle Bill of Sale form (MV-912), Statement of Transaction form (DTF-802), and a Vehicle Registration/Title Application form (MV-82) as well. You may also need to provide the DMV with a death certificate. Note that other states vary regarding their title transfer requirements. 

Out of State Transfers of Title to a Car

If you live out of state or you wish to re-title the car to an out-of-state beneficiary, there is one additional step.  First, the above process must be followed and all forms completed. Then, the new owner of the car must surrender the license plates to the state in which the car had been originally registered. Complete a Plate Surrender Application (PD-7) for each set of license plates that are being surrendered. When you remove the license plates from the car, be sure to remove all stickers, frames and fasteners as the DMV will not accept plates with such items attached. Note that registration and inspection stickers on the windshield should be removed and destroyed as well. Mail the application and the license plates to:

                                                                NYS DMV
                                                                6 Empire State Plaza
                                                                Room B240
                                                                Albany, NY 12228

You will receive a plate surrender receipt (FS-6T) from the DMV after processing. 

Once the license plate surrender process is complete, the car should be registered in the new owner’s state of residence. You should check your state’s DMV website to determine your state’s requirements. Once the car is officially registered in your home state, the process is complete, and you may finally take a ride in your new car. 

As always consult with the knowledgeable and experienced Long Island estate administration attorneys at Cona Elder Law to discover what is right for you. Our attorneys are always available to meet your needs

About the Author seotech

Accessibility Toolbar

Demo Title

This will close in 0 seconds