ESTATE PLANNING: Adding a beneficiary to a car title

2013-03-23T10:05:00Z ESTATE PLANNING: Adding a beneficiary to a car titleChristopher W. Yugo Times Business Columnist
March 23, 2013 10:05 am  • 

Time to catch up on some of the questions that readers have sent in.

Q: I've read that you can add a payable on death beneficiary to a car title. I've gone to the BMV website but I can't find a form. Can you add a beneficiary to a car title and if so, how?

A: You can add a Transfer on Death (TOD) beneficiary to a car title. However, the procedure isn't exactly clear. Or at least it isn't clear to me.

As far as I can tell, there isn't a form that you can fill out to add a TOD beneficiary to a car title. Rather, it appears that the process is to file an Application for Certificate of Title, Indiana form 44049. The problem is there isn't a spot on the form to designate a beneficiary.

To add the TOD beneficiary, you are going to need to visit the local BMV and file the application. At that time, you need to tell the clerk that you want to add a TOD beneficiary. The clerk will mark a box on the computer screen and add the information. When the new title arrives, it should contain the TOD designation.

If this works, please shoot me an email and let me know. I haven't tried this yet and I'm curious whether this is how it's done of if there is another, and hopefully easier, way to do it.

Q: What is the deadline for filing a claim in an estate?

A: As a general rule, claims have to be filed within three months of the first date of publication of notice that the estate has been opened. However, with the exception of a few governmental entities, all claims are barred if not filed within nine months of the date of death.

What that means is if the estate isn't opened right away, the time to file a claim may be limited to less than three months. For example, suppose that the estate is opened eight months after the date of death and notice is published at that time. You will only have about a month to file a claim.

Now you might be thinking "what happens if the estate isn't opened until after nine months of the date of death?" The answer is your claim is barred by time. The nine month deadline is written in stone. Even if you couldn't file a claim within nine months because the estate wasn't opened, you are still out of luck.

Thanks for the questions.


Christopher W. Yugo is an attorney in Crown Point. Address questions to Yugo in care of The Times, 601 W. 45th Ave., Munster, IN 46321 or to Yugo’s information is meant to be general in nature. Specific legal, tax, or insurance questions should be referred to your attorney, accountant, or estate-planning specialist.

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