If my mother died last week and her car was titled in her name only, will her spouse automatically get her car?

UPDATED: Mar 14, 2013

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If my mother died last week and her car was titled in her name only, will her spouse automatically get her car?

What does he need to do to get the title in his name? She had no Will

Asked on March 14, 2013 under Estate Planning, Florida


Catherine Blackburn / Blackburn Law Firm

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

In Florida, your mother's spouse is automatically entitled to inherit her "exempt property."  Exempt property includes two motor vehicles, so he is entitled to her car.  Since there is no will, however, he must obtain an order from the Probate Court to transfer title to the car.

Fortunately, your mother's spouse can take advantage of the process called "Disposition without Administration."  This is a simple process he can follow without a lawyer.  Go to the Probate Court in the county where your mother died and ask for the form needed to petition for "Disposition Without Administration."  A certified copy of the Death Certificate will be required.  Pay the fee required by the Clerk of Court, file the petition, and follow the Clerk's instructions.

If your mother left other property that must be transferred, her spouse may need to open a Summary Administration of her estate (if it is worth less than $75,000, not counting her homestead).  A lawyer is not needed for summary administration.  If she left property worth more than $75,000, her spouse will need to hire a lawyer and open a full administration estate.

I hope this helps.

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