“In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.”
American statesman Benjamin Franklin is credited with those words, but even he might have been surprised to learn that some government-related costs aside from taxes have at times haunted Hoosiers even after death. For example, people couldn’t pass on automobiles, watercrafts or other titled vehicles to family without the government getting involved.
A red-tape entanglement is the last thing a person needs after the death of a loved one. There is trauma enough in these situations without adding inconvenience and expense of a protracted court process.
That’s why I was pleased to author Senate Bill 81, which enables a person to transfer certain types of property to a beneficiary without having to go through a probate process. Time and money often associated with receiving inheritance gifts such as these and dealing with probate court is virtually eliminated by this legislation which was unanimously supported in both the Senate and House of Representatives.
Beginning July 1, you can give your automobile, watercraft or any other titled vehicle to the person or persons of your choice, and they won’t have to struggle through court hearings – often involving lawyers and fees. This new law states after the owner’s death, a beneficiary would only need to file an affidavit with the county recorder and produce a death certificate to have the vehicle put in their name.
This means the executer or administrator of your estate won’t have to take any additional legal action to ensure your automobile or property is transferred to the beneficiaries you have designated.
With this new law, Indiana joins California, Connecticut, Missouri and Ohio in offering car owners the option of naming a beneficiary on the certificate of registration to inherit a vehicle. It’s a safe law. The beneficiary has no rights as long as the owner is alive. The owner retains the right to sell or give away the car or name someone else the beneficiary.
It was one of those laws that might not have received a lot of attention in this year’s Indiana General Assembly. Yet, I believe it is one that brings tremendous peace of mind for families, knowing that their wishes are being met in the best and most efficient way.
Another famous Ben Franklin quote is “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Hopefully this legislation will empower people to discuss these issues in advance so their family – not some court – will be in control after a loved one is gone. What do you think?
Please contact me at State Senator Dennis Kruse, Indiana Senate, 200 W. Washington Street, Indianapolis, IN 46204 or call 1-800-382-9467, or send e-mail to S14@in.gov.