In order to transfer Texas title to a vehicle that was owned by a person who is now deceased, certain steps must be followed.
First of all, it must be determined if there is a lien on the vehicle. If money is still owed, it can’t be transferred until the loan is paid off.
Secondly, who should get the vehicle? Is there a Will? If there is one, and the Will was probated, then the Executor should decide what should be done with the vehicle. Once the Executor has the court orders (or Letters Testamentary), the Executor will have the legal authority needed. If the vehicle has been left to a certain person in the will, the Executor can transfer the vehicle to that beneficiary by signing the proper forms and the title.
If the Will does not name a specific person as beneficiary, the Executor will need to make a determination as to who will get it, or whether it will be sold, or even donated, depending on the terms of the will and what is best for the estate.
If there is no Will at all, then the Texas DMV form “Affidavit of Heirship for a Motor Vehicle” may be completed. This is one way to clear the way for title transfer. This is done through the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles.
There may be other options for transfer of this and other property, with the assistance of an attorney and of the probate court.
Find the original title. If it is not available, you may have to apply for a replacement title through the Texas DMV.
Remember that until the title is transferred, the estate can have liability for anyone who is driving the car, and the estate can be sued if something happens. So, it is advised to “park it and lock it” until title is transferred. Another tip to avoid liability: either accompany the new owner to the DMV to see the transfer with your own eyes, or submit a “Vehicle Transfer Notice” to the DMV, rather than relying on the new owner to get it done.