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What is an Heirship Affidavit?


Death and taxes are two of life's unavoidable certainties. To the buy-here-pay-here dealer, death also brings questions about what to do with a vehicle after a customer passes away. 

Ideally, the customer leaves behind a will, or a lawfully wedded spouse, or only one living child. Absent those circumstances, the dealer is left to determine what to do with the vehicle. This becomes particularly challenging when a deceased customer's family member asks the dealer if s/he can keep the car and simply continue making payments.
 
If the dealer agrees to allow a relative to take over the contract payments, then the dealer might consider having the relative sign all parts of the contract, just as the customer did. Additionally, transferring the title requires significant effort from the relative requesting the vehicle.
 
TXDMV's Form VTR-262 is the Affidavit of Heirship for a Motor Vehicle. You can find the form here, or pick one up at any county tax assessor's office. Page 2 of VTR-262 provides instructions on how to use the forms. Here are the highlights:
  • All heirs must sign the Affidavit.
  • Pay particular attention when there are surviving children whose parent is someone other than the surviving spouse.
  • The Affidavit may be used even when a deceased customer left a will IF a court determined that no administration is necessary. If this is the case, then the court document attesting to the same must be attached to the Affidavit. 
Once an heir presents the notarized Affidavit and any required attachments, the dealer will complete a new Form VTR 130-U, Application for Certificate of Texas Title, and apply for title as the dealer normally would for a sale.
 
Remember, a dealer always has the option of taking possession of the vehicle, writing off any remaining balance owed, and attempting to liquidate the vehicle. Probate matters can get messy, and sometimes the best way to avoid legal trouble down the road is to avoid dealing with such things in the first place.

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