What does Transfers of Title mean?
Transfers of Title is a very broad subject and includes any asset that is titled and requires a change of ownership due to death, divorce, sale, assignment, gift, or asset protection as part of your Estate Plan. The type of assets that are typically titled include automobiles, recreational vehicles, boats, motorcycles, real estate, and any other item that requires some type of proof of ownership.
What papers do I need to transfer a car title?
Automobile titles can be transferred through the Department of Motor Vehicles. The paperwork necessary depends on why the title is being transferred. There are FAQs on the DMV website that cover transfers due to death, sale, or gift. If you need assistance, the DMV can help.
If you need to transfer an automobile as part of an estate and there is a probate proceeding already opened, then you can discuss the transfer process with your Probate Attorney. Depending on the type of probate proceeding, the Executor or Administrator will typically be the individual to sign the title application and the title for purposes of transfer. If the probate proceeding is a dependent administration, then it will be necessary to apply to the Court for permission to sell or distribute the automobiles prior to transferring title.
How much does it cost to do a Transfers of Title?
The costs associated with transfers really depends on the type of asset and the reason for the transfer. If assets are being transferred due to death of the owner, many of those will be handled within the probate proceeding. If assets are transferred due to divorce, those transfers can also be handled during the divorce proceeding. The same for real estate transactions and closings.
Can I give my house to my son before I die to avoid probate?
Many individuals believe that if they transfer their house to a trust or to their children before they die that they can “avoid” probate. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. It is possible to gift your property to your child or children, or any other person, prior to your death. If you no longer own the asset at the time of your death, then that asset will not require probate in order to transfer as the transfer will have already occurred. Sounds great, right?
What about tax exemptions? What about special needs beneficiaries? What about bank accounts or other assets that were not gifted before death? These are some of the questions our experienced Estate Planning Attorney reviews with our clients when discussing title transfers.
If you gift your home to someone else prior to your death, you will no longer own your home. Perhaps you have over 65 exemption, a homestead exemption, or perhaps you have 100% disability through the VA. You may be paying very low to no tax at all on the property. However, a deed was just recorded that transfers your property to your 42 year old son. Fast forward to the new tax bill and he now has to pay $3,000, $5,000, $7,000 – any amount – in taxes on the property. You still reside in that property so you should still have the exemptions, right? Wrong. You still reside on the property but you no longer own it. Perhaps a better alternative would be the Transfer on Death Deed.
When individuals want to avoid probate, they have a tendency to think of only titled assets or of the “big” assets. There are many things to consider when trying to avoid the necessity for probate. Financial assets must be changed to list beneficiaries and titled assets must be transferred prior to death or have right of survivorship agreements. If any asset is left out and forgotten, then probate may be necessary. It is human nature to procrastinate, especially when addressing our own mortality. Sometimes these planning actions are postponed until it is too late and the individual no longer has the capacity to transfer assets.
There are many reasons why a person may, or may not, want to transfer their assets now. If you are considering the need to transfer assets and you are not sure where to start, contact the Law Office of Ronda S Haynes, PLLC today to schedule your consultation. We will discuss your circumstances and provide you with the best options to fit your specific needs.