Transferring Title to a Vehicle Without Probate

I get a lot of questions about estate planning by email. Most of the questions are too involved for an answer by return email. In those situations, I arrange either an in-office consultation or a phone consultation. But, every now and again I do get a question that can be easily answered with a simple email. The most recent question is one such question. And, I get this question so often I thought I’d do a quick post to answer it for the benefit anyone else who may be wondering whether to send me a message about it.

Here’s the scenario:

A young man dies without a will. He is an adult but is not married and has no children. He is survived by both parents, two full siblings and a half sibling. He lived with a parent, and the only possession in his name is a car.

The question is whether probate is necessary to transfer title to the car the young man owned at the die of his death.

The simple answer is that you can transfer title to the car with an Affidavit of Heirship for a Motor Vehicle. While you can have an attorney draft the affidavit for you, there is a form for it on the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles website (download form VTR-262). The heirs will have to sign the affidavit in the presence of a notary public stating that they are the young man’s only known heirs.

For more information on who inherits the car in this situation, you can read I’m Single, I Have No Children … Do I Need a Will in Texas? In this particular case, the young man’s parents inherit his entire estate equally because he was unmarried, had no children, and his parents survived him.


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