A title is a document that proves you are the legal owner of your vehicle. If there is a need to transfer ownership, a procedure called title transfer has to be carried out.
Most common situations that require a title transfer include buying, selling, gifting or inheriting a vehicle.
If you are selling your old vehicle, you should take care of the paperwork. You should first write the mileage down on the title, sign and date it and have the buyer sign it, too. If there are any lien holders, they too have to sign the title.
If you are the buyer, you will have to take the signed title to the DMV to register the transfer.
Transferring a vehicle between family members involves the same procedures as buying or selling a vehicle to someone outside of your family. The difference is that the title transfer fee is usually fixed.
If you receive a vehicle as a gift and you didn’t pay anything for it, a title transfer is still required, as well as paying a sales tax.
The similar rules apply when you are moving to another state and you have to make a title transfer for your vehicle.
There are a couple of issues that can arise if a title transfer is not conducted properly. For example, if you don’t check the title thoroughly when you are buying a used car, you may end up with a debt that the person who sold it to you has towards a bank or a previous seller.
You will also not be able to sell the car if the ownership hasn’t been correctly transferred to you in the first place.
When you sell your vehicle, all these details regarding a proper title transfer are very important, because you are responsible for whatever happens to the car as long as your name stands on the document as an owner. That means that if you sell it and you don’t write down the correct name or address of the buyer, you will be held accountable in case the vehicle gets involved in an accident or it gets towed, and you will have to pay the ticket for any traffic violation even though it wasn’t you who committed those violations.