Earlier in the year, we provided a post about Transfer on Death (“TOD”) Affidavits. Today, we wanted to touch on a particular type of TOD Affidavit for an asset that is often overlooked. For many, a car is one of the most valuable assets that they own. Often the only time we look at our car title is when we are at the dealership either buying or selling that vehicle. However, if you pass with the title to the vehicle still solely in your name, it is going to have to go through probate.
Probate is a legal proceeding where the validity of a will is established, and an "Executor" is appointed to manage the estate. This includes resolving claims from creditors and distributing assets in accordance with the will. If a person dies without a will, the court appoints an “Administrator" to perform a similar function, without the added benefit of the will's provisions to determine who gets what. The State of Ohio makes that determination for you.
In order to avoid your vehicle having to go through probate, a simple but effective mechanism is to create and file a TOD Affidavit with the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles. Using this affidavit, you can designate a beneficiary of your motor vehicle (also, your watercraft or outboard motor) then when you pass, your named beneficiary has the ability to transfer ownership without going to court. To discuss creating a TOD Affidavit, contact Jesse Bowman at AWK Legal (513-228-1100).
This information is intended to provide broad, general information about the law and is not intended to be legal advice. Before applying this information to a specific legal problem, readers are urged to seek advice from a licensed attorney.
Attorney Jesse Bowman