Can you donate a car with a lien?

I’m looking to get rid of my car, and I’d like to donate it to a local charity instead of selling it. The only problem is that it still has a lien on it. Can you donate a car with a lien?

Mariza Morin · Answered on Jan 16, 2023
Reviewed by Shannon Martin, Licensed Insurance Agent.
No—in most cases you won’t be able to donate a car with a lien. Ultimately, it depends on the charity that you’re donating to, so you may need to contact them first.
A car lien gives the lienholder or auto loan lender a legal claim over your vehicle until the loan has been completely paid off.
In general, before you can donate a car with a lien, charities like Goodwill or Wheels for Wishes will often require you to submit a lien release letter. This proves that your vehicle has been released from the lien and has been fully paid or waived by the lienholder.
Once your lien is released, the lienholder will transfer the title to you, which you’ll also need to submit to the charity of your choice.
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