Recent Changes to Transferring Ownership of Deceased’s Automobile

Ohio law has recently changed impacting estate administration issues. Notably, the two-car limit automobile allowance is eliminated. Previously, when a spouse died (“the decedent”), the surviving spouse was able to transfer titles for up to two automobiles owned by the decedent only, but the value of the two automobiles could not exceed $40,000. This would mean that if the spouse solely owned more than two automobiles at death, the additional automobiles would need to be administered through the Probate Court.

Now, a surviving spouse may transfer an unlimited number of automobiles owned by the decedent with a total combined value not to exceed $65,000. Therefore, this change will allow a spouse who may have had more than two vehicles, with a combined value of less than $65,000, to transfer all to his/her surviving spouse without being an estate asset and, thus, not subject to probate.

This will certainly simplify a number of estates. A surviving spouse may accomplish the transfer by taking the original titles, certified death certificate, photo ID, and a completed Application for Certificate of Title to a Motor Vehicle (BMV Form 3774) and Clerk of Court Surviving Spouse Affidavit (BMV Form 3773), and payment for title fees to the Title Office.