Vehicle Transfers

Transferring Title to a Vehicle Without Succession

 

Question: A family member died and only owned a car. Do I have to open a succession in order to transfer the title of the vehicle to my name so I can sell it?

Louisiana has a non-judicial procedure for transferring the title of a vehicle in the event of the owner’s death that does not require any court proceedings to be initiated. An Affidavit of Heirship can be obtained from the Louisiana Department of Public Safety and Corrections (Office of Motor Vehicles) that can be completed to transfer the title to the vehicle without the need for opening a succession through a court proceeding. 

In addition to the Affidavit of Heirship, the DMV will also require a copy of the Last Will and Testament and the certificate of title. A copy of the Affidavit of Heirship can be downloaded here.

If there is only one surviving heir and he/she wishes to title the vehicle in his/her name, only the Affidavit of Heirship and supporting documents needs to be filed. 

If one of the heirs is a surviving spouse and he/she wishes to transfer the vehicle to a new owner, the Affidavit of Heirship must be completed by the surviving spouse as well as all other heirs, but only the surviving spouse is required to sign the a notarized bill of sale or act of donation.  If there is no surviving spouse and the sale or donation is to a new owner, a bill of sale or act of donation must be signed by all heirs.

This procedure is useful when the only property owned by the decedent was a vehicle.  It also however can be used as part of a regular succession in order to transfer the vehicle into a designated person’s name for purposes of maintaining insurance on the vehicle while the succession is ongoing.