The average cost of a new vehicle now exceeds $30,000 and some motor vehicles such as recreational vehicles far exceed that in value. A vehicle may be a principal asset even in small estates and, for various practical reasons, may often need to be sold or transferred promptly upon the owner’s death. The transmission of property at death increasingly is accomplished by nontestamentary forms of transfer. This trend has been fueled by many factors, including sticker shock at the cost of legal services, the complexities and delay of probate processes, and the availability of self-help tools. In response, the Texas Legislature has authorized “transfer on death” (TOD) title registration of motor vehicles, enacting new Chapter 115 of the Estates Code which became effective September 1, 2017. The Transportation Code authorizes the designation of a beneficiary on title applications to whom the owner’s interest in the vehicle will transfer on the owner’s death.
Read the entire article at the Dallas Bar Association.