Unless otherwise provided in the last will and testament of a decedent, any motor vehicle(s) owned by the decedent shall belong, and title to them shall pass, to the surviving spouse.

Terms Used In Rhode Island General Laws 31-3.1-37. Passage of title upon death of owner

  • administrator: A male person appointed by the court to administer the estate of a deceased person who (1) dies leaving no will, or (2) leaves a will naming an executor or executors who for some reason cannot serve. The functions of an administrator are to collect assets of the estate, pay debts, and distribute residue to those entitled to it.
  • assets: (1) The property comprising the estate of a deceased person, or (2) the property in a trust account.
  • decedent: A deceased person.
  • Motor vehicle: means any vehicle driven or drawn by mechanical power for use on the public streets, roads, and highways;

    (2) "Odometer" means an instrument for measuring and recording the actual distance a motor vehicle travels while in operation;

    (3) "Person" means any individual, sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation, or business trust including, but not limited to, private individuals and motor vehicle dealers, both wholesale and retail, whether the private individual or dealer is a dealer in the ordinary course of business or not;

    (4) "Repair and replacement" means to restore to a sound working condition by replacing the instrument or any part thereof or by correcting what is inoperative;

    (5) "Transfer" means to acquire ownership by purchase, gift, bequest, or any other means. See Rhode Island General Laws 31-23.2-2

(1) The administrator of the division of motor vehicles shall register the motor vehicle(s) in the name of the surviving spouse upon presentation to the division of motor vehicles of:

(i) A certified copy of the death certificate of the deceased spouse;

(ii) Registration(s) of the motor vehicle(s) of the deceased spouse.

(2) No fee shall be charged to the surviving spouse for issuance of a new certificate of title.

(3) A surviving spouse shall not be charged a registration fee during the year he or she is registering the vehicle(s) in his or her name and having a new certificate of title issued,

(i) Where the deceased spouse registered that motor vehicle(s) with the division of motor vehicles; and

(ii) Paid the registration fees provided in § 31-6-1 for the motor vehicle(s) for the year.

(4) Where the deceased spouse did not register the motor vehicle(s) or failed to pay a registration fee pursuant to § 31-6-1 for the year in which the surviving spouse appears to register the motor vehicle(s) and have a new title certificate issued in his or her name, then the surviving spouse shall pay a pro rata amount of the annual registration fee for the remaining months of the year.

History of Section.
(P.L. 1972, ch. 98, § 1; P.L. 1985, ch. 285, § 1; P.L. 2010, ch. 239, § 27.)