Transferring an auto title after the owner’s death

On Behalf of | Jan 2, 2021 | Estates

After the death of a loved one, there are many small details that a person has to handle. Someone may not even think about them until something happens where he or she must take action. 

A good example of this is transferring the title of the vehicle. Most people may not think about doing it until it comes time for the annual registration renewal. At that time, they end up wondering how to change the title into their name. 


According to the Indiana General Assembly, if a person has the right through the deceased person’s estate or under the law to transfer the title into his or her name, then he or she may do so. It may require waiting five days after the person’s death. In general, though, if it is the spouse, he or she should have no trouble transferring the title because he or she inherits everything upon the spouse’s death under inheritance laws unless there is an estate document, such as a will, that says differently. 

Transfer on Death

The Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles explains that a person can create a Transfer on Death that will transfer the title of the vehicle upon his or her death to another person. If someone is the beneficiary of the TOD, they will not have to do much to transfer the title. 

When the person established the TOD, it put the beneficiary’s name on the title. The title should have a statement regarding the arrangement to transfer on death the title to his or her name. The beneficiary will have to take the title and a copy of the death certificate to get a new title that is legally in his or her name.