Vehicle Inheritance

When a vehicle owner dies, vehicle ownership is inherited according to the list below:

  1. If the deceased's estate is probated, the person to whom the title is assigned. The Personal Representative (executor or administrator of the estate) is appointed by Probate Court and is responsible for assigning the deceased's title to the new owner.
  2. If not probated, the surviving spouse. The surviving spouse may either title the vehicle, or reassign their interest in the vehicle without first obtaining a title in their name. If the deceased's title is lost, the surviving spouse must either title the vehicle in their name, or contact a Secretary of State Branch Office for information on a special "duplicate/transfer" procedure.

a.       If no spouse, then to descendants by representation.

b.       If no spouse or descendant, then to parents equally if both survive or to the surviving parent.

c.       If no spouse, descendant, or parent, then to the descendants of the parents by representation.

d.       If none of the above, then closest next-of-kin. Questions about rights or interest of next-of-kin should be referred to an attorney or probate court.


NOTE:  A will is not used to determine inheritance unless it is administered by probate court. Then the personal representative carries out the provisions of the will.


If you inherit a vehicle from an immediate family relative, no tax is due. 

Note:  Your situation may differ from the examples provided. Please check with our Information Center at 1-888-SOS-MICH (767-6424) to make sure you have all the correct paperwork before going to a branch office.