A surviving spouse may transfer title from the deceased spouse for up to two cars not to exceed a value of $40,000 without probate proceedings by presenting a surviving spouse affidavit and the death certificate to the County Auto Title Office. This applies to vehicles that are not transferred by will of the deceased spouse, or that are not jointly owned with someone else. The transfer will not affect any lien, for example, it will not affect a lien that the purchase lender has on the vehicle.
If the car is titled jointly with someone (other than the spouse) and there is no lien, the joint owner may apply for a new certificate of title by presenting the death certificate and completing the back of the title.
If neither of the above options apply, probate proceedings are required.
If there is a specific bequest in a will and there are sufficient assets to pay creditors, the vehicle will be transferred to the person named. Where there are insufficient assets to pay creditors, or there is no specific bequest, the vehicle will be sold and proceeds added to the estate to be used to pay creditors and distribute the rest to heirs or beneficiaries under the will.