Beginning November 1, 2016, Oklahoma now allows the use of a transfer on death form for vehicles, also called a “Transfer on Death Notice Application.” The link to the free form can be found here. This form allows vehicle owners to designate a “transferee” who will receive ownership of the vehicle after the record owner’s death– without having to probate the title to the vehicle.
The form must be properly filled out before the record owner’s death, but can be submitted to the Oklahoma Tax Commission before or after the record owner’s death. The transferee designation may be revoked or changed at any time prior to the record owner’s death by completing the “Amend/Revoke Notice Application” portion of the form. The record owner is still free to transfer or sell the vehicle to someone other than the named transferee prior to the record owner’s death. If the record owner chooses to do so, the transfer on death designation is merely considered cancelled.
If the record owner does pass away while the title is still in their name, the named transferee must complete the “TOD Transferee Affidavit” portion of the form and send it to the Oklahoma Tax Commission along with a copy of the record owner’s death certificate in order to accept ownership of the vehicle. Alternatively, the named transferee has the option of disclaiming any ownership interest in the vehicle if they do not want to accept the transfer.
If the vehicle is owned by multiple individuals, the transfer of ownership to the named transferee cannot take effect until all record owners have died.
If the vehicle title reflects an active lien at the time the transferee submits the “TOD Transferee Affidavit” and death certificate, the transfer on death designation cannot take effect and will be considered cancelled.
While the vehicle transfer on death form cannot take care of avoiding probate for other items, such as household contents and real estate, it is a simple tool that can assist Oklahomans in transferring vehicles to their loved ones without subjecting the vehicle to probate.
Other ways to avoid probating vehicles include creating a trust and titling your vehicles in the name of your trust– which would also have the benefit of avoiding probate for items and property other than vehicles. Alternatively, in some situations your successors can utilize what is commonly referred to as a “small estate affidavit” pursuant to 58 O.S. §393, which has certain requirements and limitations of its own.
If you have questions about these or other estate planning options, our firm offers a free estate planning consultation and can help answer any questions you have. Please feel free to contact us by phone at 918-782-0000 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Cassandra L. Coats is a partner at Lee|Coats Law in Vinita, Oklahoma. While Lee|Coats Law is a full-service law firm, Cassandra focuses her practice on estate planning, as well as adoption, guardianship, probate, real estate, contract, and personal injury law.