Can a car be registered in such a way that it is mine while I’m living and my son’s after I die without it going intomy estate?

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Can a car be registered in such a way that it is mine while I’m living and my son’s after I die without it going intomy estate?

For example “father” and “son” vs. “father” or “son”.  Basically, the situation is that I’m buying a new car with cash, and I want it to go to my son if I should I die. I want to avoid the car being part of my estate to avoid taxes and/or possible liquidation to pay off any debt belonging to the estate. 

Asked on March 7, 2011 under Estate Planning, Connecticut

Answers:

MD, Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Unfortunately, the only way to do that is if you both owned the vehicle jointly with right of survivorship, which you need to see if you can do with your vehicle in your state. The only other way is to set up a trust and see if you can place the vehicle in your trust to be given to your son when you pass on. You cannot avoid probate if you simply use a will but a pour over will (into a trust) could help you avoid probate and any issues of transfers. Please consult with an estate planning attorney in your state to ensure you can transfer through the trust or if you can currently transfer so both of you have title. With joint title of course would come joint liability and insurance would be a factor, as well.


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