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A deceased loved one typically owns a vehicle or two where an updated certificate of title needs to be issued to the new owner.  To complicate matters, there are slightly different procedures for getting a new certificate of title depending on whether:

  • the title listed the heir as a joint owner with right of survivorship;
  • the heir is a joint owner without the right of survivorship;
  • someone has qualified as executor of the deceased’s estate;
  • the deceased left a will but no one has qualified as executor;
  • the title lists a “transfer on death” beneficiary; or
  • the deceased did not have a will.

Fortunately, the Virginia DMV has a helpful guide called the “DMV Guide for Family Members and Friends of the Recently Deceased” to help persons navigate this issue.

Unfortunately, the guide can be very difficult to find on the DMV website.  Here’s the link to the guide: https://www.dmv.virginia.gov/webdoc/pdf/dmv105.pdf.

DMV forms referenced in the guide can be found by typing the document name or item number in the search box located in the top right corner of the DMV website (https://www.dmv.virginia.gov).