Estate Planning 101

Notifying the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation Driver & Vehicle Services After a Loved One’s Passing

September 13, 2023

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Dealing with the loss of a loved one comes with many responsibilities, including notifying various organizations and institutions. If your loved one was a resident of Pennsylvania and held a driver's license or owned a vehicle, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation's Driver & Vehicle Services (PennDOT DVS) should be notified.

Who Should Be Notified

The PennDOT DVS needs to be notified if the deceased held a Pennsylvania driver's license or ID card, or owned a vehicle registered in Pennsylvania. Notifying the PennDOT DVS helps prevent identity theft and facilitates the transfer of vehicle ownership.

When to Notify

It's advisable to notify the PennDOT DVS as soon as possible, typically within 30 days of the death, to swiftly handle the cancellation of the driver's license and handle vehicle ownership matters.

How to Notify

To notify the PennDOT DVS, you'll have to submit a copy of the death certificate and the deceased's driver's license or ID card to the PennDOT. If the deceased owned a vehicle, you'll need to follow the state's process for transferring or selling the vehicle, which typically involves filling out the appropriate forms and providing proof of your right to the vehicle.

What to Expect After Notification

Upon notification and processing of the information by PennDOT DVS, the deceased's driver's license or ID will be canceled. If there was a vehicle registered to the deceased, PennDOT DVS will guide you on how to transfer the ownership, which may require a will or other documents establishing your right to the vehicle.

Tips for Notification

Ensure you provide accurate information to PennDOT DVS and complete all necessary forms to avoid potential delays. In addition to the death certificate, having the deceased's driver's license number and vehicle registration details at hand can be helpful.

Conclusion

Notifying the PennDOT DVS after the death of a loved one is an important responsibility that helps prevent identity theft and simplifies the transfer of vehicle ownership. With careful preparation, you can navigate this task successfully during an otherwise challenging time.

FAQ

Q: What if the deceased's vehicle is jointly owned?
A: If the vehicle is jointly owned with rights of survivorship, the surviving owner can take full ownership by providing the PennDOT DVS with the death certificate and the current title.

Q: What if there's a lien on the deceased's vehicle?
A: If there's a lien on the vehicle, the lienholder should be contacted immediately. The lienholder has rights to the vehicle until the lien is fully paid.

Q: Can I transfer the deceased's disability parking placard?
A: No, disability parking placards are not transferable and must be returned to the PennDOT DVS upon the placard holder's death.