Consumer Title Resource | Since 2009!

Vehicle Title Transfer Process

The Importance of a Valid Title Document
So what all goes into the process of transferring a vehicle title? First of all, you have to start with a valid title document. You need to make sure that you have a legal title; it’s the most current version, not an old version, and it’s not a replace duplicate.

Proper Execution of the Title
Once you have that document, you need to do a proper execution, meaning that the legal owner listed on the front has to sign that title over to somebody else. If there’s a lien on the vehicle, even if it’s paid off, it doesn’t matter if the loan amount is zero. It has to be executed that’s paid on that title. In some cases, the lien release and/or the ownership transfer have to be notarized.

Submission to the DMV
Once that’s all done, you have to present it to the DMV. The transfer is not complete until it’s submitted to the DMV, and they issue a new title which supersedes the old title. You got to do that because the owner of the car may have gotten a duplicate, they may have a loan on the car, they may have some other claims against a car that are not reflected.

Completing the Transfer
Getting that title transfer to the new owner isn’t complete until a new title document is issued with the new ownership name on it. You want to do that as soon as possible because if the prior owner has any legal event in their life – divorce, they die, they have a bankruptcy, they get sued – some debtors or a state can look up their assets and say, “Hey, wait a minute, this car’s in their name. Let’s add it into the estate or let’s add it into the lawsuit.” So you want to get a transfer to your name as possible so you’ll have any conflicts with people who have claims against that vehicle from prior owners.

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