How To Transfer Car Title After Someone Passes Away

For many people, cars can be significant assets of their estate. Upon passing, the family will have to determine how to transfer ownership of the car to a family member or how to sell it as an estate asset. But the process for transferring ownership of a car in Illinois is not always straightforward. Here are some options depending on the specific facts surrounding the estate:

1. Co-Owners of an Automobile

If there are multiple owners of a car and one passes away, the survivors between them take the right to the automobile. This is known as “joint tenancy” in Illinois and works much the same as when you own real estate as joint tenants with right of survivorship. The car will not be considered a probate asset and does not contribute to the $100,000 limit for a small estate affidavit. The DMV requires certain forms to be filled out, including the Application for Vehicle Transaction (VSD 190). After completion the surviving joint owners will remain on title and will be able to transfer ownership alone as they see fit.

2. Transferring Title at the DMV Through a Small Estate Affidavit

If the total potential probate assets of an estate are less than $100,000 and do not include real estate, then a small estate affidavit may be used. Of course, this should be determined by the estate’s probate attorney, so it is imperative to discuss the use of a small estate affidavit with an experienced Lake County probate attorney such as those at JTLG, LLC before executing an affidavit. If a small estate affidavit can be used, then the affiant should bring the executed original small estate affidavit and fill out the Application for Vehicle Transaction (VSD 190) form. The small estate affidavit will direct the DMV to re-issue title in the names of the heirs/legatees.

3. Probate

If joint tenancy is not applicable and a small estate affidavit is not permitted, then probate may be necessary to obtain vehicle title. Probate is not as terrible anymore as it is made to seem. For relatively straightforward estates with few creditors and no conflicts on distribution of assets, independent administration in probate is appropriate and greatly eases the process. Upon opening a probate estate, letters of office are issued that grants the executor/administrator the right to collect assets and liquidate assets. Once all assets have been collected and all creditors have been paid, estate assets can be distributed and the probate estate closed in Court. The process is best handled by an experienced Illinois probate lawyer such as those at JTLG, LLC.

How Do I Collect Other Estate Assets?

Beyond an automobile, there may be other assets of the decedent that you are attempting to gain control over. A small estate affidavit can be used to take funds from a bank account that does not have a payable on death designation (again, provided that the estate meets the requirements for a small estate affidavit) as well as other investment accounts and stocks and bonds. Real estate is more difficult as one cannot transfer title of real estate in Illinois with a small estate affidavit unless its total value is $2,500 or less. This is rarely the case. Instead, if there is no joint ownership of the real estate, no land trust, no trustee deed, or no transfer on death instrument,then probate will need to be opened to collect and sell the real estate. Speak with the real estate and probate lawyers at JTLG, LLC today for more information regarding these options.

Estate Planning to Reduce The Legal Obstacles Upon Death

If you are going through the experience of collecting and liquidating assets of a deceased loved one you will no doubt recognize the need of prior planning to reduce the burden on your family when you pass. Estate planning, including creating a trust, will, power of attorney for property, power of attorney for healthcare, a living will, and a transfer on death instrument, along with changing beneficiary designations on all property, will greatly save your family time and effort upon your passing. The last thing you want is for your loved ones to have to jump through unending legal hoops before they inherit your estate. Planning can give you peace of mind that their burden will be eased upon your passing.

Contact the Gurnee Probate Attorneys at Johnston Tomei Lenczycki & Goldberg LLC Today

If you are going through the process of administering a deceased loved one’s estate or you want to plan your estate so that upon your passing your loved ones are cared for, then call the experienced Gurnee estate planning and probate lawyers at Johnston Tomei Lenczycki & Goldberg LLC. We offer a no charge initial consultation to determine the scope of services needed. We will take a holistic view of the estate and your needs and propose our recommendation on your best course of action. Call the Gurnee probate lawyers at JTLG, LLC today to get the help you need to administer your loved one’s estate.



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Johnston Tomei Lenczycki & Goldberg LLC

Phone Number: (847) 549-0600
Fax Number: (847) 589-2263

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350 N. Milwaukee Ave., Ste. 202
Libertyville, IL 60048

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