The Motor City has been revving at full speed the past few weeks. Just as the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) ends its 98th run, Cobo Center is gearing up for Detroit’s 59th annual Boat Show. With innovation at the forefront of transportation’s future, it seems that everyone is becoming some form of gearhead for cars, boats, RVs, motorcycles, or anything else that fuels our  growing need for speed.

And while these quick, reliable toys are both an unquestionable necessity and favorite luxury in life, we can’t take them with us after we are gone. That raises the question: what happens to them when we are gone?

Whether you’ve been willed the vehicle of a recently deceased loved one, or are trying to prepare your own loved ones for the transfer of title after you have passed, Michigan has a pretty straightforward policy for transferring state-registered vehicles and watercraft.

So long as the collective total of all transferred vehicles does not exceed $60,000, the heir of the deceased can transfer the vehicles, including boats, motorcycles, and RVs, via an affidavit form at your local Secretary of State branch. The heir will need to be provide a death certificate and, if the heir at law is not the only child of the deceased, waivers by the other children will also be required at the time of transfer. Most importantly, no probate estate is required.

Providing that the vehicle was properly registered prior to the loved one’s passing, the registration will remain valid until the time for renewal. The Probate Pro recommends that the vehicle stay in the operator’s name alone. This will help you minimize liability in the event of an accident; state law provides that the owner who, in addition to the driver, can be sued.

As a probate attorney, I can assure you that transferring the vehicle is the easy part. Trying to decide how to divvy up someone’s most valued possessions while their family is still grieving? Now that’s tough. Luckily, it doesn’t have to be this way. What happens to it is up to you. Save your loved ones the stress and confusion by creating an estate plan for your assets. Doing so not only ensures your belongings end up in the right hands, but gives you and your family peace of mind knowing that your wishes will be carried out.