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How to Transfer a Car Title to a Family Member

Car ownership is something that almost everyone looks forward to during their lifetime, especially young teens waiting to hit the driving age. Many parents will find it best to hand down a car from one sibling to the next or from a parent to a child as the first car. If this is the plan in your household, you will want to know how to properly transfer a car title to a family member.


Who is Considered Family?

Who exactly is considered family when it comes to transferring a car title? Family members include children, parents, siblings, your spouse, your partner, grandparents and grandchildren. This means that any of these family members can transfer the title of a car they own to any other family member of the list. For example, if you have a new teen driver in your house and you want them to drive your old car, you can transfer the title to your child if you follow the required steps.


The Basics of Transferring a Title

When it comes to transferring a title to family members, the process is very similar to transferring a title when selling a car. The big difference here is that family members will have to pay little to no sales tax when the title is transferred. Even though there will not be any sales tax involved, the process will still require you to file a vehicle bill of sale when transferring the title to a family member.

The vehicle bill of sale will contain some important information, including the terms of the transaction. Many people list the sale price of the vehicle, which for a family member, is typically just $1. The vehicle bill of sale most often includes the following information:

● Vehicle identification number (VIN)
● Make, model, and year of the vehicle
● Warranty
● Odometer reading
● Signed legal names
● Addresses of both parties
● Notarized signature (when necessary)

The vehicle bill of sale documents the transfer of the right of ownership of the vehicle, but it does not mean the buyer (or family member) actually owns the vehicle yet. Actual ownership is not confirmed until the new certificate of title is issued. A title is required in every state to prove ownership of a vehicle.

When transferring a title to a family member, the person relinquishing ownership must provide the odometer information on the vehicle’s title and both parties must sign and date the title before a new one is issued. The person taking ownership of the vehicle must then go to their local DMV to apply for a new title in their name. When visiting the DMV, the person taking ownership of the vehicle must bring all of the aforementioned paperwork and pay a nominal fee for transfer of the title.

Transferring a car title to a family member is not nearly as difficult as it might seem. If you plan to transfer a car title, or receive a car title, be sure to have all of the proper paperwork completed ahead of the visit to the DMV so you are not told to return a second time.

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