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Surviving Spouse

Surviving Spouse Transfers

A surviving spouse may elect to transfer automobiles and one boat and/or outboard motor into their name without probate court proceedings provided that none of these items are disposed of by a will.

The only limit as to the dollar value of any of these transfers is when automobiles are being transferred pursuant to the affidavit. When vehicles are being transferred by the Opens in new windowSurviving Spouse Affidavit, the combined value of these vehicles must not exceed $65,000.

When issuing a surviving spouse transfer, only the application portion of the back of the title is completed. The surviving spouse's name must be entered as the applicant, lien information must be stated if applicable, the basis for tax exemption should be entered as IH - “INHERITANCE”, the title must be signed by the surviving spouse and the application portion of the title must be notarized.

No tax is due. No tax form is required.

The odometer reading is not required to be disclosed.

A surviving spouse affidavit must be completed, signed by the surviving spouse and notarized. This form will accompany the certificate of title for issuance.

If there is a lien on the decedent's title that is going to be carried forward, the title may be issued "without" the loan agreement or letter from the lien holder. A memorandum certificate should be applied for in order for the new owner to buy license plates.

copy of the death certificate is required.

Remember to include the surviving spouse's social security number on the application.

Surviving Spouse Q and A's

Can a person take title to a recreational vehicle by surviving spouse?

No, a recreational vehicle is not an automobile as defined in External linkORC §2106.18.

Can a person take title to a truck by surviving spouse?

Yes, if the truck was used as a conveyance vehicle by the deceased or the decedent's family. Commercial trucks such as a Kenworth or Peterbilt cannot be titled by Surviving Spouse.

Can a person take title to a motorcycle by surviving spouse?

Yes, this went into effect on March 23, 2006 in House Bill 246. The decedent must have passed away after March 23, 2006.

Can a person take title to a mobile home/manufactured home by surviving spouse?

No, we cannot title a mobile or manufactured home as it is not an automobile as defined in External linkORC §2106.18.

Court Ordered Titles

The Clerk of the External linkCommon Pleas Court in each Ohio County has principal responsibility for issuing motor vehicle certificates of title on behalf of, and in cooperation with, the External linkBureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV)External linkOhio Department of Public Safety. A properly issued motor vehicle certificate of title is the primary evidence of ownership of the motor vehicle described in the certificate.

In a limited number of circumstances a judge of the External linkCommon Pleas Court can order the Clerk of Courts Auto Title Division (title office) to issue you a motor vehicle certificate of title. These circumstances include:

  • When the original certificate of title issued by the External linkState of Ohio or any other state has been lost, destroyed or stolen and a duplicate of that certificate as provided by Section External linkORC §4505.12 of the Ohio Revised Code is not available from the Clerk or BMV due to a lack of historical title records;
  • When you have purchased a vehicle but the previous owner has failed, refused or otherwise been unable to furnish you with a properly assigned certificate of title;
  • When you have been given a vehicle or it has been left in your possession and ownership, but the previous owner has failed, refused or otherwise been unable to complete the transaction by supplying required documents; or
  • When you are owner of a repair garage or vehicle storage facility who is in possession of a vehicle valued at more than $3,500.00 after deduction of repairs, which vehicle has remained unclaimed by the owner more than fifteen days after notice to reclaim the vehicle.

The Ohio Revised Code sets forth specific procedures to follow in instances other than the four listed above. Here are some examples of circumstances with respect to which Section External linkORC §4505.10 of the Ohio Revised Code does not apply:

  • When you are owner of a repair garage or storage facility in possession of a vehicle valued at less than $3,500.00 after deduction of repairs, which vehicle has remained unclaimed by the owner more than fifteen days after notice to reclaim the vehicle (See, External linkORC §4505.101);
  • When you are the operator of a manufactured home park attempting to remove a tenant’s manufactured home from the home park property (External linkORC §3733.091 and External linkORC §1923.12);
  • When you are a pawnbroker seeking forfeiture and title to a motor vehicle that has not been redeemed by the owner after expiration or breach of the loan secured by that motor vehicle (See, External linkORC §4505.102); or
  • When a motor vehicle, whether a “junk motor vehicle” or not, has been abandoned on private property owned by you; and you do not want title to the motor vehicle, but rather simply want it moved or disposed of (See, External linkORC §4513.60 through External linkORC §4513.65, inclusive).

If you believe that External linkORC §4505.10 of the Ohio Revised Code does apply to your situation, there are certain steps you will need to take before the Court can consider your petition for an Order directing the title office to issue a motor vehicle certificate of title to you.

Opens in new windowCourt Order Instructions (PDF)

Opens in new windowCourt Order Process for Motor Vehicles (PDF)