Proy Law Firm - Carroll County, Maryland Small Business and Estate Lawyer Nicholas Proy

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Main Page >> Practice Areas >> Wills, Trusts and Estate Planning >> Maryland Vehicle Beneficiary Designations


Maryland Vehicle Beneficiary Designations


Due to a recent legislative change, effective October 1, 2017, Maryland vehicle owners may now designate a beneficiary for their motor vehicles, much like a "transfer on death" designation (Transportation Article ยง 13-115) . What this means for you is that you can take advantage of this law and pass a vehicle on to someone outside of the probate process, which will save time, attorney's fees and possible estate taxes. This functions much like the beneficiary designations on your Individual Retirement Account (IRA), 401(k) or life insurance policy.


However, before you designate a beneficiary for your motor vehicle, you should consult with an attorney to see how this can be best integrated into your estate plan. While beneficial to most, this new law does have some disadvantages, most importantly only one beneficiary (either one person or one business entity) may be designated on your vehicle title.


How to Designate a Beneficiary on a Certificate of Title:

(1) Go to the MVA's website.


(2) Select the appropriate customer type ("Already a Customer" or "New Customer").

     a. If "New Customer", enter the required information to create an MVA online



(3) On the left-hand side of the screen, under Vehicle Services, click "Vehicle Beneficiary Designation".


(4) Enter your e-mail address and telephone number to access your MVA online account.


(5) Enter your title number, driver's license number and date of birth.


(6) Enter the name of the beneficiary. Please note that you can only have one beneficiary per vehicle at this time. If more than one beneficiary is desired, you will need to contact our office.


(7) Pay the $20 fee via e-check or credit card.


(8) The new Certificate of Title reflecting the beneficiary designation will be mailed to you. You should keep your new title with your other estate planning documents.


Requirements for Certificate of Title - Transfer on Death Beneficiary Designations:

(1) The vehicle must be owned by one person. If multiple individuals are listed on the title, the title cannot contain a beneficiary designation.


(2) Only one beneficiary per vehicle title is permitted. This can be either one individual or one business entity.


(3) The beneficiary designation must be made after October 1, 2017.


Advantages of Certificate of Title - Transfer on Death Beneficiary Designations:

(1) The vehicle will pass outside of the probate process. This could save time, unnecessary attorney's fees and prevent the vehicle from being subject to other creditors' claims.


(2) After the death of the vehicle owner, the person named as the beneficiary only needs to bring the title reflecting the beneficiary into an MVA office to have the title transferred into the beneficiary's name.


(3) The title does not have to be signed by the owner before his or her death.



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