New Texas Law Allows for Beneficiary Designation on Your Vehicle

Here at Prevost, Shaff, Mason & Carns, P.L.L.C., one of our most important duties is to stay current on the latest legislative developments and share those updates with our clients, friends and families.

With that in mind, we wanted to share that the Texas Legislature has recently added new provisions to the Texas Estates Code and Transportation Code allowing for the designation of a beneficiary on your vehicle to take title upon your passing without the need for probate or otherwise.

We know organizing an estate after a family member’s passing can be difficult and designating a beneficiary of your vehicle is another great way to help simplify estate matters and make sure your wishes are followed.

The following are the highlights of the new laws:

  • To create a transfer on death designation, the owner must submit an Application for Title that is available online or at your local Department of Motor Vehicles (“DMV”), which contains a designation of beneficiary effective upon the owner’s death;
  • Importantly, the owner retains full rights in the vehicle, meaning, he or she can still sell the vehicle, remove the beneficiary, or change the beneficiary designation by submitting a new Application to the DMV at any time before the owner’s passing;
  • The beneficiary’s rights to the vehicle do not arise until after the owner passes away; and
  • Within 180 days of the owner passing away, the beneficiary must submit the old title, a new Application for Title, and proof of the owner’s death (generally, the death certificate) to the DMV.

If you would like to discuss this or other smart estate planning steps further, please give us a call at (972) 239-6200 or e-mail me at