VEHICLE BENEFICIARY DESIGNATION NOW POSSIBLE IN ARIZONA
In Arizona, a person has been permitted for many years to designate who will receive bank accounts and real estate upon death. For example, a person may designate a “pay on death” beneficiary for bank and other accounts, and may title real property as “joint tenants with right of survivorship.” By doing so, ownership of the account or property transfers to the named beneficiary without having to go through probate. Oddly, until recently, it was not possible under Arizona law for a person to designate a beneficiary to receive his/her motor vehicle. So, a person could transfer a million dollar home by a simple joint tenancy title, but not an inexpensive vehicle. Fortunately, that has now changed.
In 2011, Arizona law was amended to allow a vehicle owner to designate a beneficiary to receive ownership of the vehicle upon the person’s death. A.R.S. § 28-2055(B) now provides that “at the request of the owner [of a motor vehicle] and on payment of a fee prescribed by the department by rule, the certificate of title may contain, by attachment, a transfer on death provision where the owner may designate a beneficiary of the title.”
The Arizona Department of Transportation Motor Vehicle Division even provides a simple one-page form to designate a beneficiary, called a Beneficiary Designation for Vehicle Title Transfer Upon Death.