Transfer of Vehicle Ownership From A Deceased Spouse

When a married person dies, the question arises as to how to transfer interest from the deceased spouse to the surviving one. This assumes that there has been no joint ownership with right of survivorship, as established under 2131.12 of the Ohio Revised Code.

The interest in the car, truck or motorcycle will immediately pass to the surviving spouse upon the transfer of the title. This is according to the provisions of 4505.10 of the Revised Code. An affidavit can be applied for at the local Clerk of Courts Title Office. The affidavit will require:

  • Approximate value of the vehicle
  • Year and make and model and body type
  • Vehicle identification number
  • Ohio Certificate of Title numbers
  • Death certificate
  • Original title

If an estate is opened, then the Will is to be probated through the courts. The Executor or Administrator will act for the transfer of ownership of the vehicle.

Ultimately, the title will be transferred to the surviving spouse’s name. That person then will take the new title to a deputy registrar at the local license agency.

Driving With Vehicle Insurance

For Ohio motorists, it is illegal to drive any motor vehicle without insurance or other Financial Responsibility (FR) coverage. It is also illegal for any motor vehicle owner to allow anyone else to drive the owner’s vehicle without FR coverage.

There are many losses sustained as the result of a vehicle wreck. The damages suffered by you and by the other party involve personal injury or death, as well as property damage. In Ohio, motorists must have coverage for at least $12,500 injuries for one person and $24,000 for two or more people. As to property damage, the minimum amount of coverage is $7,500.

You can prove you are covered under the Ohio Financial Responsibility Act by producing:

  • The insurance policy
  • An insurance identification card (with the same coverage as the policy)
  • A surety bond of $30,000 issued by any authorized surety company
  • An Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV) bond secured by real estate having equity of at least $60,000
  • A BMV certificate for money or government bonds in the amount of $30,000 on deposit with the Ohio Treasurer of State
  • A BMV certificate of self-insurance, available only to companies or persons who own at least 26 motor vehicles

Any driver – or owner of a vehicle – who fails to show FR coverage will sustain large penalties. These include:

  • Lost of their license for 90 days on the first offense.  For the second offense it is one year’s suspension, and two years for any additional offenses.
  • Lost of their license plates and vehicle registration.
  • Reinstatement fees of $100 for the first offense; $300 for the second offense, and $600 for any additional offense.
  • Payment of a $50 penalty for any failure to surrender their driver’s license, license plates or registration.
  • There will be a requirement to maintain a special FR coverage (“high-risk” insurance or its equivalent) on file with the BMV for a period of 3 to 5 years

Once the suspension is in effect, any driver or owner who violates the suspension will have his or her vehicle immobilized and the license plates confiscated for at least 30 days for the first offense and 60 days for the second offense. For the third or subsequent offenses, the vehicle will be forfeited and sold, and the vehicle owner will not be permitted to register any motor vehicle in Ohio for 5 years. These penalties are in addition to any fines or penalties imposed by a court of law.