Surviving Spouse/Inheritance/Heirship

Following the death of an owner, a vehicle may be inherited by a family member or the vehicle may be transferred to an heir specified in the deceased owner's will. If ownership of a motor vehicle is to be transferred following the death of the owner, the Certificate of Title may be transferred to a new owner by a surviving spouse, the executor of the decedent's estate or a court appointed administrator.

 

Surviving Spouse

To qualify as a surviving spouse, the customer must have been married to the deceased person at the time of death. Live-in companions and ex-spouses do not qualify. If the surviving spouse wants to retain or transfer ownership of the vehicle, an Affidavit of Surviving Spouse and copy of the Death Certificate is required. The name of the person claiming to be the spouse must be the same on both the Affidavit of Surviving Spouse and the Death Certificate. For more information, please see Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 90D Section 15A

 

Unless other instructions are stipulated in a decedent's will, a motor vehicle titled in the decedent's name is treated as joint property with the right of survivorship, and ownership of the vehicle passes to the surviving spouse.

 

If the surviving spouse wants to retain the vehicle, the Title and Registration of the vehicle must be transferred to the spouse’s name. To do this, the following documents must be submitted to the Registry:

      RMV-1 Form, stamped by an authorized agent of the insurance company, if the vehicle is to remain registered

      Decedent's Certificate of Title assigned by surviving spouse

      A copy of the Death Certificate listing the name of the spouse

      An Affidavit of Surviving Spouse

 

If the surviving spouse elects to transfer ownership of the vehicle to another person, the surviving spouse must give the following documents to the new owner:

      Decedent's Certificate of Title assigned by surviving spouse

      A copy of the Death Certificate listing the name of the spouse

      An Affidavit of Surviving Spouse

 

Heirship

If a decedent has left a will, the executor of the estate may transfer the Title with the following documents:

      A copy of the Appointment of Executor

      Decedent's Certificate of Title assigned by the Executor

 

Inheritance

If a decedent has NOT left a will, the court appointed administrator may transfer the Title with the following documents:

      A copy of the Appointment of Administrator

      Decedent's Certificate of Title assigned by the Administrator

 

Vehicle transfers in these cases may be exempt from sales/use tax. Please see the Massachusetts Sales and Use Tax Requirements section for more details.