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Orange County California Vehicle Transfer Without Probate

In California you can transfer a vehicle without probate under certain conditions.

Before Death

You can register your vehicle as transfer-on-death (TOD). When you register your vehicle this way, the person (beneficiary) you name will inherit the vehicle automatically upon your passing (no probate court proceeding). You will need to complete a new title application for each vehicle, listing the person of your choice as the TOD. A new title will be issued by the DMV showing your TOD designation.

After Death

After 40 days from the date of death, if the value of all of the deceased’s property does not exceed $150,000, ownership of the deceased’s vehicle may be transferred to the deceased owner's next of kin or beneficiary(ies) in the Will using an administrative process (here is the form: Affidavit for Transfer Without Probate California Title Vehicle or Vessels Only (Form REG 5). After the title is transferred to the next of kin or beneficiary(ies) it can be sold or otherwise treated as owned by the deceased owner's next of kin or beneficiary(ies).


If the estate of the Decedent is over $150,000 it would likely require a formal probate procedure. In that event, the court appointed personal representative of the estate must adhere to specific rules and submit specified documents, fees and, if due, registration renewal and use tax to the California Department of Vehicles.

If you wish to gain more information on California probate, including Orange County, California probate, or if you need the general assistance of a California probate lawyer, please contact me for a free consultation. You can reach me by phone at (949) 243-0408, by email at or through my online contact form.

From my office in Southern California, I represent families in all California counties, including Southern California Counties such as Imperial County, Los Angeles County, Orange County, San Bernardino County, and San Diego County. I also represent parties residing outside of California that have probate matters affecting real and/or personal property in California.

Disclaimer: This article is intended to provide general information. The content of this publication is for informational purposes only. Neither this publication nor its author is rendering legal or other professional advice or opinions on specific facts or matters. No attorney-client relationship is created by this advisory, nor by any response to the information herein, unless and until a conflicts review has been conducted by William K. Sweeney, and a written agreement containing all terms of representation has been signed.

Copyright © 2018, William K. Sweeney, Attorney at Law. All rights reserved.

Client Reviews
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I was searching for lawyer to assist me and my mother with my father's estate following his death. Some lawyers weren't willing to take a Heggstad Petition case but Mr Sweeney not only took the case but recommended it. In the end we were successful thanks to the efforts of Mr Sweeney and his paralegal Jennifer Fejzic. I would definitely recommend their services. Anonymous
Bill Sweeney and his incomparable paralegal Jennifer Fejzic represented and advised me through the probate of a parent's estate. Having practiced law myself for over 30 years, I expected expertise, precision, and wisdom -- all of which Bill and Jennifer richly delivered, promptly and at a reasonable, indeed more than fair, fee. I recommend Bill and Jennifer with gratitude and confidence. Greg