Occasionally you may need to change the registered ownership on a car.
This is referred to as changing the title.
For example, if you sell a car, you’ll want to make sure your name is removed from the title, and the person buying the car is going want to put their name on the title. Perhaps you need to add a spouse or a relative to the title, or maybe you just need to remove your name from the car title altogether.
The process for getting this done is slightly different from state to state, however the fundamental aspects of the transaction are the same wherever you live.
Before you can proceed however, you either have to own the vehicle outright, have permission from the lien holder of the vehicle to change it, or live in a state in which you hold title to the car even if you have an outstanding loan against it.
If you live in Montana, Wyoming, Oklahoma, Minnesota, Missouri, Michigan, Kentucky, New York, or Maryland, you get the title to the car even if it isn’t paid off. You can also change the title without the lending institution’s permission. All you need to do is follow the instructions in “The Process” section of this article, go to the DMV with the title document and effect the desired changes to the title.
However, it’s a bit different if you live in one of the 41 Title Holding States.
In these states, the bank is listed as the legal owner of the vehicle and you’re listed as the registered owner, so you’ll need to get permission from the lender to change a car title.
In most cases, you do this by notifying the DMV of the need to change the car title. After that, the DMV contacts the lender to let them know what you’re trying to do. If the lender says it’s OK, you’ll go to back to the DMV to complete the process.
Sometimes you can just contact the lender directly and have them issue a document granting you permission to change the car title. The exact procedure for accomplishing this can vary from state by state. The best thing to do is to contact your local DMV to find out which way the state prefers to see it handled where you live.
If you own the car outright, or if you live in a Title Holding State, you’ll find the form you need on the on the reverse side of the title document (also known as the “pink slip”), to make changes to the title. There are different sections of it designated to fill in depending upon what you’re trying to accomplish with the change.
It is important to note the registration card and the title document are two completely different forms and are used for two completely different purposes. The registration card is kept in the car to prove the required registration fees have been paid. The title document is almost like money. It’s a legal form verifying who is in ownership of the vehicle.
Once the proper parts of the backside of the title document are filled out, take it to the DMV to get it duly noted by the government. Depending upon what you’re trying to accomplish when you change a car title there might be some fees that need to be paid to get it done. It’s a good idea to check with the DMV by phone, or check online before you go to the DMV to make sure you are prepared to deal with the fees.