Avoiding Probate on Your Car

MVD Beneficiary Deeds: One More Tool to Help Avoid Probate

Did you know that you can designate a beneficiary who will automatically take title to your vehicle(s) upon your death without the need for probate? Arizona Revised Statutes Section 28-2055 allows a vehicle owner to make such a transfer by completing the Beneficiary designation form available through the Arizona Motor Vehicle Division.

In order to complete the transfer, you will first need to complete the beneficiary designation form. If you want to leave the vehicle to only one person, leave the ‘Legal Status' box blank.  If you are leaving the vehicle to two or more people, you will first need to decide how you want the beneficiaries to own your vehicle.  The following options are available:

  • Joint Tenants: Each person has full authority to transfer ownership of the vehicle or take out a loan on the vehicle. The names on the title will read: Bob Smith or Mary Green. If this is what you want, write OR in the ‘Legal Status' box next to each beneficiary's name.
  • Tenancy in Common: The signatures of each party will be required to transfer ownership of the vehicle or take out a loan on the vehicle. If one party dies, the deceased party's interest must be handled with their estate. The names on the title will read: Bob Smith and Mary Green. If this is what you want, write AND in the ‘Legal Status' box next to each beneficiary's name.
  • Joint Tenants with Right of Survivorship: The signatures of each party will be required to transfer ownership of the vehicle or take out a loan on the vehicle. If one party dies, upon proof of death, the surviving party may sign alone. The names on the title will read: Bob Smith and/or Mary Green. If this is what you want, write AND/OR in the ‘Legal Status' box next to each beneficiary's name.

Once you have completed the form, take it along with your title to your local MVD office. You must sign the form in front of the MVD agent and have the MVD agent notarize your signature. (You can alternatively sign in front of a regular notary.) Give the completed form and your title to the MVD agent along with the $4 fee.  The MVD agent will give you a new title with the beneficiary information on it.   Your vehicle will now be transferred, probate-free, to the person(s) you named upon death.

Contact one of the attorneys at West, Longenbaugh and Zickerman, P.L.L.C. to discuss other ways to avoid probate.  Big firm representation, small firm caring.

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