15 May CAR TRANSFER ON DEATH MAY SOON GET EASIER
The Texas Legislature is presently considering a new law permitting a motor vehicle owner to simply designate who will be entitled to the car upon the owner’s death. If a car title is jointly owned, then the sale of the vehicle requires both owners. Also sometimes ownership is entitled as joint with right of survivorship whereby the survivor would be entitled to car ownership upon the death of the joint owner. The proposed bill would allow one who owns a car to simply transfer ownership at death by beneficiary designation. This is similar to a bill passed a couple of years ago which permits real estate to be transferred at death by deed (called a Transfer on Death Deed). Whether a car or real estate, the owner can change their mind or sell the vehicle or real estate without the consent of the beneficiary. This beneficiary designation would supersede a Will. In other words, a Will may not revoke or supersede a beneficiary designation – regardless of when the Will is made. If the car is owned jointly, the beneficiary designation must be made by all joint owners. During the motor vehicle owner’s life, no interest is created in favor of the beneficiary and the designation should not result in a transfer penalty for those on or applying for public benefits. The definition of a motor vehicle would not include an all-terrain vehicle or a recreational off-highway vehicle.
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