People can leave many different types of personal property to their loved ones in a will, such as jewelry, artwork, collections and other items of great financial or sentimental value. One common type of property that is often inherited by a Maryland resident is an automobile. If a person leaves an automobile to an heir in a will, after the owner passes away, ownership of the automobile must be legally transferred. How is this done?
In general there are a number of steps that need to be taken to transfer ownership of an automobile after the original owner passes away. The steps that need to be taken depend on the specific circumstances of an individual's case.
If the automobile is jointly owned by the deceased and another individual, per the state Certificate of Title, if the owner that survives the deceased wishes to keep the automobile after the co-owner's death, that individual needs to fill out an application for a new title. This important step must be completed prior to the expiration date of the automobile's registration tags. If the automobile still has a loan associated with it, the required information regarding the lien must be filled out on the title document.
If the automobile is jointly owned by the deceased and another individual, per the state Certificate of Title, if the owner that survives the deceased wishes to sell the automobile to another individual or give it away, then the "assignment of ownership" portion of the title document must be filled out. The joint-owner will need to give the individual they are selling or gifting the automobile to a certified copy of the deceased's death certificate, the title to the automobile or a letter from the Motor Vehicle Association that informs the surviving joint-owner that a transfer of the automobile title is necessary. It may be necessary to have a state safety inspection completed on the automobile in order for it to be sold or given away.
This is only a brief overview of the transfer of ownership of an automobile after a co-owner's death in Maryland. This post cannot provide readers with all the information they need to effectively transfer title to their heirs. Instead, individuals in Maryland who want to learn more about automobile title transfers after a co-owner's death may want to seek legal advice.