How to Title a Vehicle in Special Needs Trust

By Tom Streissguth

If you have a child or relative with disabilities, you can set up a special needs trust that will provide for her financial well-being. Placing a vehicle in the trust allows the trust beneficiary access to the vehicle, without being directly responsible for license and registration fees, taxes, upkeep and other costs.

Special Needs Trust

A special needs trust is designed for the health and welfare of a disabled individual. The creator of the trust, known as the grantor, sets up the trust and places assets into it for the benefit of the beneficiary. The grantor names a trustee, who manages the trust's assets -- which might include cash, investments, real estate, or specially equipped vehicles -- and makes disbursements for specific purposes such as medical treatment and equipment, educational expenses and transportation. Assets in the trust are not counted against the limits for individual beneficiaries set by programs such as Medicaid or Supplemental Security Income.

Retitling a Vehicle

As the grantor, you can place a vehicle into a special needs trust, but must retitle the vehicle in the name of the trust. This typically means filing a title application with the state's department of motor vehicles, which handles registration and licensing. The procedure varies from one state to the next, but most states have several requirements, which include presenting a proof of purchase form if the vehicle is new, as well as the original title, an inspection certificate and/or odometer statement, a copy of the trust agreement, and then paying of a fee.

Protect your loved ones. Start My Estate Plan

Lien Information

As the applicant, you may also need to supply lien information if there is an outstanding loan on the vehicle. The lien holder, or lender, must either release the lien or allow its transference to the trust along with the title. Transferring the lien means making the trust the new party responsible for the car payments.

Inspections, Taxes and Registration

The state may require a safety inspection before a vehicle can be retitled, and proof that the vehicle passed the inspection. Excise taxes may be due on the sales price of a new vehicle. The agency that accepts the title application may collect a fee and issue a new title. If the vehicle came from out of state, you will also need to register it in the new state -- which means an additional application and fee.

Protect your loved ones. Start My Estate Plan
How to Register a Farm Business in Illinois


Related articles

Does a Living Trust Need to Be Registered in North Carolina?

Living trusts, also called revocable trusts, are popular estate planning tools because they avoid the costs and delays of probate courts. Wills must be probated and become part of the public record when they are filed with the court. However, most states, including North Carolina, afford privacy to a living trust's creator and beneficiaries by not requiring public registration of trusts.

Death of a Trustee & a Name Change on a Title

The death of a trustee under a living trust means the successor trustee, also named in the living trust, assumes the trustee’s duties. Since the trustee holds legal title to trust property, the property is held in the trustee's name. As a result, the successor trustee must prepare the necessary documents to change title to the trust property.

Can a DBA Sign a Deed of Trust for a Corporation?

All states permit business owners to use a DBA -- "doing business as" name -- regardless of whether the owner is an individual, limited liability company or corporation. Sometimes referred to as an assumed name, trade name or fictitious business name, the DBA is not the legal name of the business. When an important legal document, such as a deed of trust, needs to be signed by a business operating as a corporation, the legal name of the corporation must be used on the document.

LegalZoom. Legal help is here. Start Here. Wills. Trusts. Attorney help. Wills & Trusts

Related articles

How to Change a Vehicle Title Into Only One Person's Name After a Divorce

If a divorce awarded you the family wheels, then you'll be responsible for keeping that title document in good order. ...

Who Is Entitled to a Vehicle After a Person Dies If It Is Not Included in a Will or Trust?

A vehicle not included in a will or trust instrument is passed down according to a state's rules of intestacy or as a ...

How to Execute a Living Trust

A living trust allows a person known as a trust grantor to place his assets under the administration of a trustee, who ...

How to Transfer Title to Revocable Trust

A revocable trust is useful largely because it avoids probate proceedings after the death of a settlor. Assets titled ...

Browse by category
Ready to Begin? GET STARTED