Types of Vehicle Ownership

This is required information if the vehicle is registered and titled in more than one name. When completing your Vermont Registration Application you must indicate your choice for rights of survivorship which will apply when two owners are listed and one owner dies.

Tenants by the Entirety (TEN ENT)

Tenants by the entirety is for married couples (including Civil Unions), where ownership of property is treated as though the couple were a single legal person. Like a Joint Tenancy with Rights of Survivorship, the tenancy by the entirety also encompasses a right of survivorship, so if one spouse dies, sole control of the property passes to the surviving spouse without going through probate.

Joint Tenants (JTEN)

A joint tenancy is a relationship in which co-owners have a right of survivorship, meaning that if one owner dies, that owner's interest in the property will pass to the surviving owner or owners by law, and avoiding probate. The deceased owner's interest in the property simply evaporates and cannot be inherited by his or her heirs.

This form of ownership is common between a parent and child, and in any other situation where parties want ownership to pass immediately and automatically to the survivor.

Tenants in Common (TEN COM)

Each owner is regarded by the law as owning separate and distinct shares of the same property.

No right of survivorship, meaning that if one owner dies, that owner's interest will be part of his or her estate and pass by inheritance to that owner's devisees or heirs, either by will, or by intestate succession. Also, as each owner has an interest in the property, they may, in the absence of any restriction agreed to between all owner's, sell or otherwise deal with the interest in the property during their lifetime, like any other property interest.

Business Partners (PTNERS)

By definition, a partnership is a business with more than one owner that has not filed papers with the state to become a corporation or LLC (limited liability company). There are two basic types of partnerships: general partnerships and limited partnerships.

Partners are personally liable for all business debts and obligations, including court judgments. This means that if the business itself can't pay a creditor, such as a supplier, lender, or landlord, the creditor can legally come after any partner's house, car, or other possessions.

Partners do have rights of survivorship.

Transfer on Death (TOD)

Vehicle must be registered to one person only (no co-owner). The owner shall have all rights of ownership and rights of transfer until his or her death. The designated beneficiary shall have no rights of ownership until such time as the 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. No probate court proceeding will be necessary. Requires completion of Transfer on Death (form #VT-007) form.

Related Forms & Information

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Vermont Department of Motor Vehicles
120 State Street
Montpelier, VT 05603-0001

Monday-Friday: 7:45am-4:30pm
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