A car’s certificate of title is proof of who has legal ownership of the vehicle. Every vehicle on the road has a title. If there is a change in ownership for any reason, you will have to change or remove a name from the title. It could be due to:

  • A divorce, in which one party needs be be removed from the car’s title
  • A death, in which the deceased’s name must be removed from the title when it is transferred
  • A gift, in which the vehicle is being given to a friend or family member and the previous owner’s name needs to be removed from the title
  • A sale, in which a person has paid to obtain ownership of the vehicle and the previous owner’s name needs to be removed from the title

There are varying procedures for removing a name from the title of a car. In some states, it can simply be done with the authorization of the person whose name is to be removed from the title. In other states, the process is more involved.

Part 1 of 3: Determining the correct procedure

Step 1: Get consent. You will need the consent of the person whose name is to be removed from the title.

If your name is the one to be removed from the title, the process will be easy. If the name to be removed is someone else’s, confirm that they consent to having their name removed.

If there is more than one name on the title, check the verbiage to determine your course of action. If the title says “and/or” or “or” in the name field, you can remove one name from the title with just that one person’s consent. If the title states only the word “and”, then both parties must be in agreement for one or both of the names to be removed from the title.

Step 2: Confirm the requirements. Check with the local DMV for the requirements to remove a name from a car title.

Use your state’s online DMV resource to determine if an application must be submitted to remove a name from the title.

In some states, a name can be simply removed. In other states, the process is the same as selling a vehicle to a third party. You may also need to complete an affidavit regarding the purpose of the name removal from the title.

Part 2 of 3: Completing the paperwork required

Step 1: Obtain written consent. Once consent is confirmed, obtain it in writing from the party whose name is being removed from the title.

If there is a consent form at your DMV, print it out and fully complete it.

Step 2: Obtain proof of death if needed. If the owner of the vehicle is deceased, you will need to present proof of his or her death along with an affidavit or certified letter from the trustee of the estate.

Step 3: Include any other necessary documentation. Attach any required documentation such as proof of identification and the current title.

You may need to have copies certified as true copies by a notary public.

Be prepared with the driver’s licenses of both parties involved, the current mileage on the car, and the insurance documents.

  • Tip: Once a name has been removed from the title, you may need to have the insurance changed to read the same as the title.

Part 3 of 3: Attending the DMV

Step 1: Attend your local DMV branch with the paperwork. You may also submit the necessary paperwork by mail.

Check with your DMV to confirm the right process for your state. You may be required to turn in the license plates as well.

Step 2: Pay any necessary fees. Pay the required fee for a revised or new title.

A new title will then be issued with the name change completed. New license plates may be issued as well under the name of the person on the title.

Once you are aware of the particular requirements of your state, removing a name from a car title is a pretty simple matter. As long you are prepared with the necessary paperwork, your car title can be updated in no time!

This article originally appeared on YourMechanic.com as How to Remove a Name From a Car Title and was authored by Jason Unrau.

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