How To Transfer A Car Title When Owner Is Deceased In Texas

Last Updated on May 21, 2022 by Fair Punishment Team

Losing a loved one can be a hard and stressful experience, especially when it comes to dealing with their possessions. And while most people will dictate legal ownership in their wills, this does not mean that all their assets will be counted for. 

For example, it can be very common for cars to get overlooked by the deceased, which can make it difficult to transfer the title once the owner has passed away. So if you live in the state of Texas and want to know how you can obtain the car title, then you have come to the right place. 

In the following article, we have compiled some important information concerning car titles and how they can be transferred to a next of kin. We have also outlined the process of filing the legal paperwork and the documents you will need

So if you want to transfer your deceased loved one’s car title, this article has everything you need to get started… 

How To Transfer A Car Title In Texas 

According to Texas law, the process of transferring a car title after a person’s death will often differ depending on who is inheriting the car and whether the deceased left a will. 

In most cases, the executor or legal heir will need to file specific legal documents in accordance with state rules before they can claim the vehicle as their own. 

In the following sections, we have outlined the different legal procedures you may encounter while trying to transfer the car title or claim ownership. 

Identifying a legal heir is a relatively simple and straightforward process, especially if the deceased party left a will. 

If the deceased party did leave a will, then you should be able to identify the person who has inherited the car. 

In most instances, the car will be assigned to a member of the family or passed on to the legal heir along with other assets, such as the house and land. 

However, this does not mean that the same process will occur if a will is absent, as this will mean that the heirs will have to be determined by the state rules of intestacy. 

This means that a surviving spouse can apply for a transfer of the car title unless the deceased has children with another parent, in which case all surviving children must also make the application. 

If there is no surviving spouse, then the surviving children must sign the transfer forms themselves. However, if the deceased left no partner or children, then you will need to seek the advice of a legal attorney to determine the heirs-at-law. 

How To Transfer A Car Title When Owner Is Deceased In Texas

How To Inherit Without A Will 

In the rare instance where the deceased did not leave a will, the heir or heirs will be able to transfer the car title by completing a series of legal documents. 

These documents include Form VTR – 262 (affidavit of heirship for a motor vehicle) and Form 130-U (application for Texas title and/or registration). 

When it comes to filling out these legal documents, you will need to enter the vehicle’s identification number, year, make, model and license plate number in the top portion of the forms. 

During this process, you will also need to provide the deceased party’s information, as well as the names of the legal heirs. 

In some cases, the vehicle in question may require an ‘odometer disclosure statement’, which involves following the instructions on the second page of the VTR – 262. 

When following this procedure, all legal heirs must sign the VTR – 262 document in the presence of a notary public, which indicates that all persons present are the legal heirs of the deceased party. 

How To Inherit Under A Will 

While it is rare to encounter this legal procedure, it is not uncommon and therefore you will need to be prepared for such situations. 

If you wish to transfer the car title of a deceased party and discover that their estate has been probated, then the executor or administrator will have to assign the vehicle to the beneficiary named in the will. 

During this process, the legal administrator will obtain the letter of testamentary or letters of administration before using Form 130 – U to assign the vehicle to the beneficiary. 

In most cases, the administrator is responsible for filing the transfer documents and covering any liens or fees required for the transfer. 

For example, if the car in question is due for an updated registration or routine inspection, then the administrator will oversee these procedures to the last second. 

While it is common practice for the deceased party to leave a will, this does not always mean that the process will remain the same, as some courts may decide that no legal administration is necessary. 

During situations such as this, the legal heirs will be able to transfer the car title using the same method as if there had been no will. 

Transferring a deceased person’s car title requires a substantial amount of paperwork, which is why we have outlined everything you will need in the section below: 

To begin the legal process, you will need to go to the deceased’s county tax assessor’s office and submit the following documents: 

  • Form 130 – U (application for Texas title and/or registration) 
  • Form VTR – 262 (affidavit of heirship for a motor vehicle) 
  • Letter of testamentary or letters of administration, when applicable 
  • The car title (which will need to be signed on the back by the legal air or administrator, depending on the document you have to use) 
  • VIN verification (green sheet for if the car has been registered outside Texas)
  • If the deceased party’s estate has been probated, you will need a certified copy of the court order confirming that no administration is necessary. 
  • If the deceased party’s estate has been probated, you will also need an extract from the will listing the names of the beneficiaries. 
  • Legal proof that the car has passed inspection in accordance with Texas vehicle safety. 
  • Legal proof of liability insurance under the names of the legal heirs. 
  • The registration fee

The application can take up to 20 business days to be processed. If you have not received the title within 30 days, you will need to contact the county tax office for information.