Estate Planning 101

Notifying the Wisconsin Department of Transportation Division of Motor Vehicles After a Loved One’s Passing

September 13, 2023

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Experiencing the loss of a loved one can be overwhelming, and in the midst of grief, there are numerous tasks to attend to. One such task is notifying the appropriate entities, including the Wisconsin Department of Transportation Division of Motor Vehicles (WisDOT DMV). This step is crucial to deal with the deceased's driver's license and any vehicle registrations.

Who Should Be Notified

WisDOT DMV should be notified if the deceased was a resident of Wisconsin, held a driver's license, or had any vehicles registered in their name.

When to Notify

It is advisable to notify the WisDOT DMV as soon as possible, ideally within 30 days of the death, to ensure a smooth transition of vehicle-related documents and to prevent identity theft.

How to Notify

To notify the WisDOT DMV about a death, you will need to visit a local DMV service center. You should bring a copy of the death certificate, the driver's license of the deceased (if available), and any vehicle registration documents. You can also mail these documents to the DMV, but in-person notification may expedite the process.

What to Expect After Notification

Upon notification, the DMV will cancel the deceased's driver's license to prevent misuse. If the deceased owned a vehicle, the DMV will guide you through the process of transferring the title and registration. This typically requires a probate order, an affidavit, or a surviving spouse statement, depending on the situation.

Tips for Notification

Before going to the DMV, gather all the necessary documents including the death certificate, driver's license, and vehicle registration documents. This will make the process more efficient. If you have any questions, you can call the DMV beforehand for clarification.

Conclusion

While it may seem like a minor detail amidst larger responsibilities, notifying WisDOT DMV is an important step following a loved one's death. It helps prevent future complications related to the deceased's driver's license and vehicle registrations.

FAQ

Q: Can I notify WisDOT DMV online?
A: Currently, the WisDOT DMV does not provide an online option for reporting a death. You must visit a service center in person or mail the necessary documents.

Q: What if I can't find the deceased's driver's license or vehicle registration?
A: The DMV can look up the deceased's records using their name, date of birth, and Social Security number. However, having the driver's license or vehicle registration documents can expedite the process.

Q: What if the deceased had a vehicle loan?
A: If the deceased's vehicle is still under a loan, the loan must be paid off or assumed by the inheritor before the title transfer can occur. Consult with the loan provider for more information.