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How to Transfer Vehicle Title to a Trust

Once you’ve decided to transfer a vehicle title to a Trust, it can be hard to know where to start. Keep reading to learn the steps you need to take!

As you begin to create your Estate Plan, you may be considering what specific assets you want to include within your Trust. Your assets can include anything from houses to cars, jewelry, property, boats, bank accounts, and more. One of the assets that you may decide to hold within your Trust may be your car. However, you might be unsure about how to transfer your car to your Trust, or where and how to begin the process. This is where Trust & Will, a leader in online estate planning services, can help.

At Trust & Will, we understand how frustrating it can be to try and transfer your assets over to your Trust without having any real direction as to how to go about doing so. That is why in this article we are going to cover everything you need to know about transferring your vehicle’s title to your Trust.

Keep reading to learn more about how to transfer your vehicle to a Trust. 

What is a Trust?

Before discussing how to transfer your vehicle title to a Trust, you will first want to understand what a Trust is and the benefits of having a Trust. A Trust is a part of your Estate Plan that allows you to enter a legal relationship with another person or entity, known as your Trustee. In a Trust, you are choosing to transfer over the responsibility of your assets to another, which is where your Trustee comes in. Your Trustee will then take over responsibility of managing your assets until you pass away, at which time your assets will then be passed on to the person you have selected to be the new owner of your assets, known as your Beneficiary

It is important to note that it is possible to name yourself as the Trustee within your Trust so that you can maintain ownership of your assets until you pass away, and they get distributed to your Beneficiaries. Additionally, it is possible to name someone as both the Trustee and the Beneficiary of an asset.

What are the benefits of transferring my vehicle title to a Trust?

One of the primary benefits of transferring any asset to a Trust is that you will be enabling a more seamless transfer of your assets to your named Beneficiaries, after your death. Having a properly executed Will means your preferences will be legally noted in writing so that upon your death, your assets can be quickly distributed to those you specifically named in your Will. Without a Will, it is likely that your Beneficiaries will need to endure a lengthy and expensive probate process. This process can often drag on for months, becoming not only time-consuming, but also costly. A better option would be to have all your assets put into a Trust before you pass away. This will allow your beneficiaries to bypass the probate court process and experience a much simpler transition of ownership. 

What steps do I need to take to transfer a vehicle title to a Trust?

It is important to note that the steps you will need to take to transfer your vehicle title to a Trust will vary by state, as each state has its own laws and regulations. Below is the outline of the general process that you will need to go through, but it is best to do further research on the specific laws of your state to ensure you are within its guidelines. 

1. Decide Who You Will Be Transferring the Vehicle Title to

Before taking any further steps, the first choice you need to make is deciding who you will want to transfer the vehicle title to within your Trust. It is important to remember that this person will be taking on the responsibility of your vehicle and will essentially become the new owner, which means you will want to be sure this is someone you can trust. You may even want to consider what their driving record looks like to decide whether or not you want the care of your vehicle within the hands of the individual. Additionally, the new owner will be responsible for paying for insurance and registration of the vehicle, so make sure to have this discussion with the new owner. Once you have decided who you will be transferring your vehicle to, you are ready to proceed to the next steps.  

2. Provide Necessary Documentation

Once you have chosen the right person for the job and they have agreed to have the vehicle title transferred to them, the next thing you will need to do is gather the correct documentation necessary to transfer the vehicle title. You will need the current official title document for your car, which lists the name and address of the current owner. Additionally, you will need to fill out the necessary transfer paperwork, which will vary state by state. From there, you will also need to make sure you obtain the necessary documentation of the person you are passing the ownership onto, which may include items such as a driver's license for proof of identity. 

3. Filing Documentation with the Court

Once you have checked with your local laws and have gathered the necessary documents, you will want to file them with your state agency. The cost of transferring the vehicle title will differ from state to state but will likely be around $15. From there, the vehicle title will be able to be approved and transferred, and the new owner can then work on obtaining new insurance under their own name. While you will need to go through the state to transfer your vehicle’s title, it will be your responsibility to create your Trust. 

Have any other questions about estate planning and cars? Check out the articles below!

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