Given the maintenance requirements and rapid depreciation of cars and other vehicles, it makes no sense to have them sitting around for months or years while probate grinds on, before they can be transferred to their new owners. Thankfully a new Oklahoma law (47 O.S. ? 1107.5) allows you to name a transfer-on-death (TOD) beneficiary for your vehicles. This way, your vehicle can be transferred to the beneficiary of your choice quickly and easily, without probate court approval.

Effective November 1, 2016, the title of a motor vehicle that is not subject to any lien or other encumbrance may be transferred in transfer-on-death form by filing with the Tax Commission a written notice of transfer signed by the transferor (current record owner) and designating the transferee (owner upon death of transferor). This Form 771 notice will transfer ownership of the vehicle to the transferee upon the death of the transferor, by filing the applicable documentation.? A designation of the transferee may be revoked or changed at any time prior to the death of the transferor by filing an amended notice with the Tax Commission. Here is a link to the form with more detailed information. The process is simplicity itself.

If You Change Your Mind

The beneficiary you name has no rights as long as you are alive. You are free to sell or give away the car, or name someone else as the beneficiary. You are free to revoke a beneficiary designation at any time..

You cannot revoke the beneficiary provision by leaving the car to someone else in your will or living trust.

Transferring Title After Death

When the owner dies, the vehicle belongs to the beneficiary listed on the Form 771 and there is no statutory time limit for the beneficiary to file the Form 771 and complete the TOD Transferee Affidavit located on the second page of Form 771. To retitle the vehicle in his or her own name, the new owner simply applies for a new title with the Form 771 and a copy of the prior owner?s death certificate.

This new transfer method can?t be used for vehicles subject to a lien, so if your car isn?t paid off at your death, the beneficiary will have to pay off the car loan and get the lien released first.