New NJ Law Makes it Easier to Transfer Motor Vehicle Ownership Upon Death

New Jersey motor vehicle owners can now simplify the transfer of their vehicle upon their death by designating a transfer on death (TOD) beneficiary. This new law change allows vehicles to bypass the often lengthy and complex probate process for vehicles.

Why is this important?

  • Faster Transfer: The designated beneficiary receives the vehicle quicker without waiting for the appointment of an executor or administrator.
  • Reduced Probate: The vehicle doesn’t become tied up in the estate, preventing it from sitting unused for extended periods.

How does it work?

  1. Download the Form: Obtain the NJ motor vehicle TOD form from the NJ MVC website.
  2. Complete and Notarize: Fill out the form, sign it, and have it notarized.
  3. Safekeeping: Keep the form in a secure location until needed; consider keeping with your estate plan documents.
  4. After Death: The beneficiary presents the form, along with the title, death certificate, and a universal title application, to the NJ DMV to transfer ownership.

Important Considerations:

  • Vehicle Types: The TOD form applies to various vehicles like cars, motorcycles, campers, and trucks. However, it’s not applicable to vehicles owned by entities like corporations.
  • Inheritance Tax: While the TOD process avoids probate, it may not eliminate potential inheritance tax implications, depending on the beneficiary’s relationship to the deceased.

In Conclusion:

Designating a TOD beneficiary is a valuable tool for NJ motor vehicle owners to streamline the transfer of their vehicle upon death. Consulting with a trust and estate attorney can help you understand the broader implications of this and other estate planning strategies.

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