If a vehicle is jointly owned by a deceased person with the conjunction "OR", the surviving owner may release the title. If the vehicle is owned solely by the deceased person or jointly with the conjunction "AND", the vehicle becomes part of the deceased person's estate and the estate must go through formal or informal probate procedure. In the probate proceedings the court or a probate master will appoint a person to distribute the assets of the estate. This person could be called the Estate Administrator, the Executor or Executrix of the Will, or the Personal Representative. The court order authorizing the person to act is called Letters of Testamentary, Letters of Administration, or Letter of Appointment.
A person holding such an authorization from the courts may release the title or complete a lost title affidavit for the deceased person in the same manner as a person holding a power of attorney. If the title is lost a duplicate title must be obtained before a transfer may be processed.
For small estates of $150,000.00 or less, a successor to the deceased owner may obtain title by completing an Affidavit for an Estate with Assets of $150,000 or Less (Form 827). This procedure eliminates the need for probate proceedings and the probate court does not need to sign, issue, record, or take any other action on the affidavit. The affidavit must state the following:
*Entire estate means the value of all assets of the individual, not just the value of the vehicle for which they’re completing an affidavit.
The Affidavit for an Estate with Assets of $150,000 or Less must be notarized and must contain the full and complete serial number of the vehicle. The person completing the affidavit must title the vehicle in their name before the vehicle may by sold to another individual.
A person will be required to submit the following documents in order to title and register the vehicle in their name: