Title to Vehicles

Affidavit of Heirship for a Motor Vehicle

The affidavit of heirship for a motor vehicle can be used in lieu of probate if the only asset of the estate consists of one or more vehicles. While not technically an alternative to probate, it can help clear title to the decedent’s vehicle.

When is the Affidavit for a Motor Vehicle Used?

The affidavit of heirship for a motor vehicle can be used to transfer title to a vehicle if:

  1. The decedent died intestate (i.e., left no will) or
  2. A will was left, but:
    1. No application for probate has been filed or a court has determined no administration is necessary;
    2. There is no necessity for probate and all affiants have agreed the will shall not be offered for probate;
    3. The parties signing the affidavit are the sole and only known heirs.
  3. The affidavit is signed, before a notary, by all of the heirs.  

If one of the heirs is a surviving spouse and there are no surviving children from someone other than the decedent, the affidavit can be completed by the surviving spouse only.  If there are surviving children from someone other than the decedent, the children (or their guardians) must sign the affidavit.

It should be noted that this affidavit is not required if the decedent’s will is probated or if an administration is started, as the personal representative can transfer title to a vehicle by attaching a copy of their letters testamentary or letters of administration to the title itself.  

The County Tax Assessor

The affidavit form can be found on the website for the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles.  Once signed, the affidavit is delivered to the county tax assessor’s office to transfer title to the new owner.  

The county tax assessor will also need the following information to transfer title to the vehicle:

  1. Application for Texas Title and/or Registration (Form 130-U);  
  2. If a court has determined no administration is necessary:
    • Original or certified copy of the court document indicating no administration of the will is necessary; and
    • The portions of the will specifying the will is in the decedent’s name and indicating the heir(s);  
  3. Title and/or registration verification if the vehicle was last titled out of state;  
  4. Release of Lien (if a lien is recorded on the title record);  
  5. Verification of the vehicle identification number:
    • Vehicle Inspection Report issued by a Texas vehicle safety inspection station; or  
    • Vehicle Identification Number Certification (Form VTR-270) if the vehicle is exempt from a Texas vehicle safety inspection or if applying for Title Only; and  
  6. A copy of current proof of liability insurance in the applicant’s name (if applying for registration).

This concludes the topic of how to settle a probate estate without having a formal probate administration in Texas. If these options fail, it usually means there is a probate dispute. That is our next topic. Click here to continue reading >>>>

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