The Vermont Statutes Online
Subchapter 002 : CERTIFICATES OF TITLE(Cite as: 23 V.S.A. § 2023)
§ 2023. Transfer of interest in vehicle
(a) If an owner transfers his or her interest in a vehicle, other than by the creation of a security interest, he or she shall, at the time of delivery of the vehicle, execute an assignment and warranty of title to the transferee in the space provided therefor on the certificate or as the Commissioner prescribes, and of the odometer reading or hubometer reading or clock meter reading of the vehicle at the time of delivery in the space provided therefor on the certificate, and cause the certificate and assignment to be mailed or delivered to the transferee or to the Commissioner. Where title to a vehicle is in the name of more than one person, the nature of the ownership must be indicated by one of the following on the certificate of title:
(1) TEN ENT (tenants by the entirety);
(2) JTEN (joint tenants);
(3) TEN COM (tenants in common);
(4) PTNRS (partners); or
(5) TOD (transfer on death).
(b) Upon request of the owner or transferee, a lienholder in possession of the certificate of title shall, unless the transfer was a breach of his or her security agreement, either deliver the certificate to the transferee for delivery to the Commissioner or, upon receipt of notice from the transferee of the owner's assignment, the transferee's application for a new certificate, and the required fee, mail or deliver the certificate, application, and fee to the Commissioner. The delivery of the certificate does not affect the rights of the lienholder under his or her security agreement. If a dealer accepts a vehicle with a preexisting security interest as part of the consideration for a sale or trade from the dealer, the dealer shall mail or otherwise tender payment to satisfy the security interest within five days of the sale or trade.
(c) If a security interest is reserved or created at the time of the transfer, the certificate of title shall be retained by or delivered to the person who becomes the lienholder, and the parties shall comply with the provisions of section 2043 of this title.
(d) Except as provided in section 2024 of this title and as between the parties, a transfer by an owner is not effective until the provisions of this section and section 2026 of this title have been complied with; however, an owner who has delivered possession of the vehicle to the transferee and has complied with the provisions of this section and section 2026 of this title requiring action by him or her is not liable as owner for any damages thereafter resulting from operation of the vehicle.
(e) Notwithstanding other provisions of the law, whenever the estate of an individual who dies intestate consists principally of an automobile, the surviving spouse shall be deemed to be the owner of the motor vehicle and title to the same shall automatically and by virtue hereof pass to the surviving spouse. Upon request, the Department shall register and title the vehicle in the name of the surviving spouse, and no fee shall be assessed. This transaction is exempt from the provisions of the purchase and use tax on motor vehicles.
(1) Notwithstanding other provisions of the law, and except as provided in subdivision (2) of this subsection, whenever the estate of an individual consists in whole or in part of a motor vehicle, and the person's will or other testamentary document does not specifically address disposition of motor vehicles, the surviving spouse shall be deemed to be the owner of the motor vehicle and title to the motor vehicle shall automatically pass to the surviving spouse. Upon request, the Department shall register and title the vehicle in the name of the surviving spouse, and no fee shall be assessed. This transaction is exempt from the provisions of the purchase and use tax on motor vehicles.
(2) This subsection shall apply to no more than two motor vehicles, and shall not apply if the motor vehicle is titled in the name of one or more persons other than the decedent and the surviving spouse.
(f) Where the title identifies a person who will become the owner upon the death of the principal owner (transfer on death), the principal owner shall have all rights of ownership and rights of transfer until his or her death. The designated transferee shall have no rights of ownership until such time as the principal owner has died as established by a valid death certificate. At that time, the transferee shall become the owner of the vehicle subject to any existing security interests. (Added 1969, No. 297 (Adj. Sess.), § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1971; amended 1975, No. 71, § 2, eff. April 17, 1975; 1983, No. 104 (Adj. Sess.), § 1, eff. Jan. 1, 1985; 1983, No. 141 (Adj. Sess.), § 3, eff. Jan. 1, 1985; 1989, No. 51, § 46; 2001, No. 102 (Adj. Sess.), § 28, eff. May 15, 2002; 2007, No. 39, § 1; 2009, No. 55, § 6; 2011, No. 46, § 13; 2015, No. 159 (Adj. Sess.), § 45.)