How to Take a Name Off a Car Title

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A car title is essentially a document that details the proper owner or owners of a car. Taking a name off a car title may be necessary for many reasons, such as a death or separation from a spouse and in general any time that one person no longer has or wants ownership rights to a car. While talk of car titles can seem confusing, removing a name from a car title does not have to be a painful process if you are prepared. And like registration and insurance, it’s a tedious but vital part of being a car owner.

Taking a name off a car title

Step 1: Apply the principles of a sale to the change of name. The party who is having a name removed from the title should fill out the section of the title designated for a car seller.
The person who is staying on the title would thus be listed as the buyer. This way, you are essentially mimicking a sale with the usual transfer of title that occurs in a sale, but are instead effectively removing the unwanted name.
You may need to have this form notarized, so you need to find out beforehand if this is necessary.
One possible hurdle to worry about here is how the names are listed on the title. Depending on the form of conjunction used, you may need to list more than one person as a seller.
If the titleholders are joined by an “and,” then both holders may need to be listed as sellers. If the titleholders are joined by an “or,” then you may only need one of you to be listed as a seller. This changes according to individual state’s guidelines, so make sure you know the rules for your area.
Another issue to consider is the possibility of lienholders. While it is not necessarily the case that the presence of a lienholder will prevent you from taking a name off the title, you should still check for liens, especially if both parties are responsible for the existence of the lien.
Step 2: Go to the DMV with any needed forms. Bring the updated and notarized (if needed) certificate of title to the DMV to complete the process.
Again, each state has slightly different rules governing titles and transfers, so check to see if both parties have to be there and for any other unexpected requirements.
For example, if you are taking a name off a title in the event of a death, you will probably need a death certificate to verify this. If the car is being transferred as part of an inheritance, then you may need some information pertaining to the will of the one donating the vehicle.
Similarly, you may need to have settlement papers on hand in the event of a divorce. Whatever you unique situation is, contact the DMV or look up the exact requirements in your state to find out what you need to bring with you to the DMV.
It is far better for you to take a little time to determine what you need in advance rather spend time in line only to find out you can’t finish the process.
No one wants to hear that they need to go to the DMV, but it may be unavoidable in this case. Some states may allow you to mail the updated title form in, so you should check with your local DMV to see if this is possible.