From time to time, situations may occur where it is advantageous to add someone to the title to your car — rather than signing it over to them outright. However, before you do, you need to seriously consider the ramifications of taking that action.
As a co-owner, that person can make decisions about the car, in some cases without your agreement or consent. You are, quite literally setting yourself up to one day potentially hear something like: “Oh, by the way, I sold the car yesterday, here are 20 bucks.”
Sound far-fetched? Well, it’s very possible. After all, among the rights of ownership is conferred the right of disposition.
So, make sure the person you’re adding to the title of the vehicle has a very firm understanding of the nature of the situation and they are someone you can trust. In fact, it might even be a good idea to write an agreement detailing that individual’s rights and responsibilities for both of you to sign.
However, before you even get that far, the other thing you need to consider is whether there is a loan against the vehicle and what the laws are in your particular state. Depending on where you live (most of the 50 states), if there is an outstanding loan on the vehicle in question, you must first get the permission of the lending institution to add another name to the title. After all, whoever gave you the loan really owns the car; you’re just driving it. So they hold the title.