Estate Planning 101: How To Transfer Car Title After Death

Estate Planning 101: How To Transfer Car Title After Death

Jun 12, 2015

How To Transfer Car Title After Death

Ever wonder how to transfer ownership of a car after someone’s death? Believe it or not, the State of California has made it a rather straight forward process.

So how easy is it to transfer a car title after death? Well, it all depends on whether the deceased person’s estate will go through probate or not.

Transfer With Probate

If the Decedent’s estate is being probated, then the estate’s Administrator must submit the following documents to the California Department of Vehicles:

  1. California Certificate of Title for the vehicle;
  2. Document authorizing the transfer (some examples include: such as a court order, Letters Testamentary, Letters of Administration, Letters of Administration with Will Annexed, or Letters Special Administration);
  3. Statement of Facts Form REG 256;
  4. An odometer disclosure statement for vehicles less than 10 years old completed on the California Certificate of Title or Vehicle/Vessel Transfer and Reassignment Form (REG 262) (not available online)
  5. Fees for transfer of ownership and, if due, registration renewal and use tax.

Transfer Without Probate

If the estate of the Decedent is not being probated, then you can transfer the car after death by completing an Affidavit for Transfer Without Probate California Title Vehicle or Vessels Only (Form REG 5). This is only if 40 days has passed since the decedent’s death.

Who can submit this title change request to transfer a car title after death?

  1. Person(s) who succeeded to the property of the decedent.
  2. Conservator or guardian of the property of the person(s) who succeeded to the property of the decedent.
  3. Beneficiary under the decedent’s last will and testament.
  4. Trustee(s), under a trust agreement by the deceased, in which the primary beneficiaries are the next of kin.

Our firm serves the Sherman Oaks and Glendale areas with planning for assets such as your vehicle. If you would like more information, contact our office for a free consultation: (818)649-9110 or email

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