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Transferring Vehicle Ownership

The requirements for transferring ownership, or title, for a vehicle when the currently registered owner is deceased depends on the situation. Below are several common situations, along with the associated guidelines, to guide you in the transfer and to help make the process less stressful.

Joint Owner with the Right of Survivorship

You are considered a joint owner with the right of survivorship if:

  • Your name is listed on the title as one of the vehicle owners and "or" appears between the names listed, or
  • The words "or survivor" appear after the names.

You may re-title the deceased's vehicle in your name by submitting to DMV:

  1. Certified or notarized death certificate
  2. Vehicle title
    • If your existing title is lost or stolen, you must submit an "Application For Supplemental Lien, Replacement Title, Transfer of Lien and Substitute Title" (VSA 66) and receive a substitute title in your name. You will not be required to apply for a replacement title first in this situation.
    • If your existing title is mutilated or illegible, you must complete a VSA 66 in addition to surrendering the title.
  3. Payment of appropriate fees

DMV will issue a new title and registration in your name.

Not a Joint Owner or a Joint Owner Without the Right of Survivorship

You are not a joint owner if:

  • Your name does not appear on the title.

You are a joint owner without the right of survivorship if your name is listed on the title as one of the vehicle owners and:

  • The word "and" appears between the names listed, or
  • The words "or survivor" do not appear after the names.

Executor or Administrator Will Not be Appointed**

If the vehicle is transferred to you as the spouse or heir, or under the will, you will not be required to pay sales and use tax.

If you inherit the vehicle, bring each of the following to DMV:

  1. Certified or notarized death certificate
  2. The vehicle title
  3. One of the following:
    • A copy of the will and a completed "Authority to Transfer Virginia Title Certification" (VSA 24), OR
    • An affidavit indicating that the deceased's estate falls under the small estate laws (currently the value of the estate must be less than $50,0000, OR
    • A completed "Authority to Transfer Virginia Title Certification" (VSA-24)
  4. Proof of Address
  5. Payment of appropriate fees

Executor or Administrator of the Estate Has Been Appointed**

The executor or administrator must provide:

  1. Certified or notarized death certificate
  2. Vehicle title
  3. Court-issued document or will appointing the executor or administrator
  4. Proof of Address
  5. Payment of appropriate fees

If a bank holds the title to the deceased's vehicle, the co-owner of the vehicle is obligated to pay the balance of the loan. If a bank holds the title of the vehicle and there is no co-owner, the executor or administrator of the estate is responsible for satisfying any liens. If you are the co-owner of the deceased's vehicle, without the right of survivorship, and cannot find the title, you may obtain a replacement title from DMV for the appropriate fee.

**Executors and administrators are usually named in a will. However, if no will exists, the court, under certain circumstances, will appoint an executor or administrator.

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