This information is based on information at the website of attorney Nicholas Proy, and is posted with his permission. Nicholas Proy has no responsibility for any edits made in this information.
Maryland Motor Vehicle Beneficiary Designations
Effective 01 October 2017, Maryland vehicle owners may now designate a beneficiary of their motor vehicles, much like a “transfer on death” designation (Transportation Article § 13-115). This means that you can take advantage of this law and give a vehicle to someone else after your death, outside of the probate estate process. This will save time and attorney fee expense. This process is much like the beneficiary designations on your Individual Retirement Account (IRA), 401(k) or life insurance policy.
Before you designate a beneficiary of your motor vehicle, consult with your attorney to include this designation correctly in your estate plan.
How to Designate a Beneficiary on a Certificate of Title:
(1) Go to the MVA website: https://mva.maryland.gov
(2) Select the appropriate customer type (“Already a Customer” or “New Customer”).
(3) If “New Customer”, enter the required information to create an MVA online account.
(4) On the left-hand side of the screen, under Vehicle Services, select “Vehicle Beneficiary Designation.”
(5) Enter your e-mail address and telephone number to access your MVA online account.
(6) Enter your title number, driving license number, and date of birth.
(7) Enter the name of the beneficiary. Note that there can only be ONE beneficiary per vehicle.
(8) Pay the $20 fee via e-check or credit card.
(9) The new Certificate of Title reflecting the beneficiary designation will be mailed to you. Keep your new title in a safe place that is known to your Personal Representative or your named beneficiary or both.
Requirements for Certificate of Title – Transfer on Death Beneficiary Designations:
(10) The vehicle must be owned by one person. If multiple owners are named on the title, the title cannot also contain a beneficiary designation.
(11) Only one beneficiary per vehicle title is permitted. This can be either one person or one business entity.
Advantages of Certificate of Title – Transfer on Death Beneficiary Designations:
(12) Ownership of the vehicle will be transferred outside of the probate estate process. This will usually save time, unnecessary attorney fee, and will protect the vehicle from being subject to claims of creditors.
(13) After the death of the original vehicle owner, the person named as the beneficiary only needs to take the title reflecting the beneficiary to an MVA office, to complete the transfer of the title into the name of the beneficiary.
(14) The title does not have to be signed by the owner before her or his death.