Tenn. Code Ann. Section 55-4-101(j), 55-6-109, 30-4-102 30-2-101 et seq.

*Important Notice*

A death certificate is required as supporting documentation regardless of whether the deceased has a surviving spouse, will (probated or not), or the vehicle was inherited.

“Inheritance” is the practice of passing on vehicles upon the death of an individual.

If the deceased left no will (intestate) and it is not a surviving spouse situation, the
Affidavit of Inheritance form must be completed. With this form, all heirs mutually vest
the ownership of the vehicle to a certain party.

When the surviving spouse sells to an ultimate purchaser, the outstanding certificate of
title should be properly assigned from surviving spouse to purchaser.

Documents required to support this transfer are:

The Affidavit of Inheritance is completed to enable all heirs to mutually relinquish their
ownership of the vehicle to a certain party in the event there is no surviving spouse and
if no will exists and the total value of the estate is $25,000 or less. However, if the
decedent died after 2014, the estate can be valued at $50,000. A small estate affidavit
can be used in lieu of an affidavit of inheritance. A description of the asset should be
listed on the affidavit.

If the deceased left a will designating an executor/executrix or if an administrator is
appointed by the court, the certificate of title is signed by them to assign the vehicle to
the new owner. If the vehicle is willed to an individual as an inheritance, they must title
and register before selling the vehicle.

Documents required to support this transfer are:

  • Probated will or certified letters of testamentary verifying executor/executrix or
    letters of administration verifying appointment of personal representative
  • Certificate of title, properly assigned by executor/executrix or administrator to new
  • Certificate of registration, if applicable
  • Odometer Disclosure Statement, if applicable
  • If the will is not probated, we must be furnished with an Affidavit of Inheritance and a
    copy of the death certificate

The surviving spouse or unmarried minor children of the intestate are entitled to
certain property of the estate, including the family automobile, without regard to
its value.

If the vehicle was titled in joint ownership, the new/used field and purchase date
will not change on the new title.

No fee, charge or other cost is applicable to any person who acquires a title to a
motor vehicle as a result of the death of the spouse, if the application to transfer
the ownership and the registration are made within one year from the date of the
spouse's death.

Pursuant to Revenue Rule 1320-8-13-.02(2)(b), the affidavit of inheritance serves in place of the traditional seller and buyer signatures on the back of the title for purposes of evidencing the transfer of the vehicle from the decedent to the individual indicated on the affidavit. However, for purposes of certifying the odometer reading at the time of transfer, the individual indicated as the new owner of the vehicle on the affidavit of inheritance should sign the back of the title in the place designated for the buyer. No signature should appear in the place designated for the seller to sign, as it would be inappropriate for anyone other than an executor of the decedent’s estate to sign on behalf of the decedent.




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