Title Transfers in Alabama
Compare Insurance Rates in 3 Easy Steps
1. Start Your Quote:
A title is the legal document that shows vehicle ownership. The title includes the name of each vehicle owner, and whenever ownership―or a name―changes, a title transfer must occur. The Alabama Department of Revenue’s Motor Vehicle Division (MVD) allots 20 days for title transfers to take place.
You’ll need to complete a title transfer if:
- You sell your vehicle, or purchase a new vehicle
- You satisfy your auto loan
- Vehicle ownership transfers among your family members
- A vehicle is gifted or donated
- A vehicle is inherited
- You need to make name changes or corrections on the title
Confidence can make or break a sale, so whether the potential buyer is your best friend or someone you’ve just met, you want to make sure he feels secure with the purchase. Ordering a Vehicle History Report (VHR) that provides details about your vehicle’s past is one excellent way to do that.
Follow these steps when you’re ready to transfer the title:
- Complete, sign, and date the title as the “seller,” and have the buyer complete, sign, and date the title as the “buyer.”
- Complete, sign, date, and have notarized a Bill of Sale with the buyer. The buyer needs this in order to complete the title transfer, but you may want to keep a copy for your records.
- Give all the paperwork to the buyer so he can visit his title and tag office to complete the transaction.
Dealerships take a load off because they handle title transfers for you.
Of course, you can shop online for new cars before you make your final decision.
Pre-owned cars can help you save money; however, because they can also bring an assortment of problems, it’s best to clock a few hours planning and researching before you purchase a used vehicle. Once a particular pre-owned vehicle catches your interest, order a VHR to get the lowdown on its past.
Keep in mind auto loans and car insurance both factor into how much you’re actually going to spend on the vehicle. Remember to browse auto finance options and shop for car insurance policies that meet your budget needs.
Once you’re ready to purchase the vehicle, take these steps to transfer the title:
- Make sure both you and the previous owner properly complete, sign, and date the title.
- Obtain and complete a notarized Bill of Sale with the previous owner. You may want to encourage the seller to keep a copy for his records.
- Visit your title and tag office with the title, Bill of Sale, and:
- Proof of identification. (You must provide the number on your driver’s license or state-issued ID card, so one of these may suffice.)
- Taxes based on the vehicle’s purchase price.
- Proof of insurance, because you’ll most likely register the vehicle at the same time (see below).
- The $15 titling fee, and 1.50 for processing and commission fees.
The registration process generally takes place at the same time as the titling process, so remember to take note of additional steps and fees. For details, visit Car Registration.
You can remove your lienholder from your title once you pay off your car loan, and there’s no fee.
- Have the former lienholder sign the title as releasing the lien.
- Visit your local title and tag office with the title and proof of identity.
When vehicle ownership transfers from one immediate family member to another, the new owner won’t have to pay taxes unless an actual sale involving a purchase price takes place. When an actual sale takes place, the family member must pay taxes based on the sale price.
Immediate family members may be:
To transfer the title:
- The former owner must sign and date the title as the “seller,” and the new owner must sign and date the title as the “buyer.”
- Record “gift” where the title asks for a purchase price. (If there is an actual purchase price, record that amount instead.)
- Both parties must complete, sign, date, and have notarized a Bill of Sale. (As with the title, record “gift” where the Bill of Sale asks for a purchase price unless the family member actually purchased the vehicle.)
- The new owner should visit his local title and tag office to title and register the vehicle. Bring the title, Bill of Sale, and:
- Proof of identity.
- Taxes based on the vehicle’s purchase price (if applicable).
- The $15 titling fee and an additional 1.50 for processing and commission fees.
The steps to title a gifted vehicle are similar to those you must follow to title any other vehicle; however, in the case of gifted vehicles, you don’t have to pay taxes.
As the recipient of the gifted vehicle, be prepared to:
- Make sure both you and the former owner properly complete, sign, and date the title, and record “gift” where the title asks for a purchase price.
- Make sure both you and the former owner properly complete, sign, date, and have notarized a Bill of Sale, and enter “gift” for the purchase price.
- Head to your local title and tag office with the:
- Bill of Sale.
- Proof of identification.
- $15 for the titling fee, and 1.50 for the processing and commission fees.
Please refer to our section on vehicle donation for tips about the donation process, including choosing a qualified charity.
Keep in mind it’s best to consult a tax attorney to help you with the tax benefits that come along with vehicle donation.
The process to transfer the title of an inherited vehicle may vary depending on the exact situation, and it’s always wise to consult a probate attorney for help.
Once you’re ready for the title transfer, expect to take these steps:
- If the estate doesn’t require probate, complete and have notarized a Form MVT 5-6.
- Complete the title transfer when you visit your local title and tag office with:
- The Form MVT 5-6, if required.
- Proof of identity.
- The current title.
- Supporting documents, such as the will, death certificate, or other certified court documents.
- The $15 titling fee, and 1.50 to cover any processing and commission fees.
You can handle the registration process at the same time, but remember you must show proof of insurance when you register the vehicle. Visit our Insurance Center to learn about car insurance requirements and to shop for a policy that meets your needs.
Changing a Name
- Gather up the documents that prove your legal name or name change. These may include a birth certificate, marriage certificate, or divorce decree.
- Head to your local title and tag office to complete the title transaction. Be sure to bring the $15 titling fee and 1.50 for processing and commission fees.
Deleting a Name
- Have the person whose name you’re deleting from the title properly sign the title over to you.
- Visit your local title and tag office with the person whose name you’re deleting from the title and:
- Proof of identity.
- The properly signed title.
- A divorce decree, death certificate, or other legal document that supports the reason for the name deletion if your situation requires it.
- The appropriate fees, which include $15 for the title transfer and 1.50 for processing and commission fees.
Adding a Name
- Obtain proof of insurance for the person whose name you’re adding to the title.
- Visit your local title and tag office with:
- Proof of identity.
- The current title.
- Proof of insurance for both parties.
- The $15 titling fee, along with 1.50 for processing and commission fees.
Other Topics in This Section
- Register Car
- Registration Renewal
- Registration & Insurance
- Replacing a Lost Registration
- RV & Motorhome Registration
- Custom Built Car Registration
- Boat Registration and Licenses
- Title Transfers
- Replacing a Lost Title
- Salvaged Vehicles
- Special Vehicles
- Drivers with Disabilities
- License Plates & Placards
- Smog & Emission Checks
Your Opinion Matters To Us!Send Feedback
We put a lot of effort into making our content helpful & accurate. Please let us know if you see something that isn't clear or correct; we are here to ease any frustrations you may have while navigating DMV topics. We are not a government agency, please reach out to your local DMV, insurance agent, or respective professional for further assistance on specific situations.