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  • Title Transfers in Alabama

    What is a Title Transfer?

    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 to register a vehicle after you purchase/acquire it.

    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

    Selling a Vehicle

    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, you may need to:

    1. Complete, sign, and date the title as the “seller,” and have the buyer complete, sign, and date the title as the “buyer.”
    2. 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.
    3. Give all the paperwork to the buyer so he can visit his title and tag office to complete the transaction.

    Buying a Vehicle

    New Cars

    Dealerships take a load off because they handle title transfers for you.

    Used Cars

    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.

    Once you’re ready to purchase the vehicle, you may need to take these steps to transfer the title:

    1. Make sure both you and the previous owner properly complete, sign, and date the title.
    2. 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.
    3. Visit your title and tag office with the title, Bill of Sale. You may need to provide:
      • 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.

    Removing a Lien

    You can remove your lienholder from your title once you pay off your car loan. You may need to:

    1. Have the former lienholder sign the title as releasing the lien.
    2. Visit your local title and tag office with the title and proof of identity.

    Transferring to Family

    When vehicle ownership transfers from one immediate family member to another, the new owner may not 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:

    • Grandparents
    • Parents
    • Siblings
    • Spouses
    • Children

    To transfer the title, you may need to follow the steps below:

    1. 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.”
    2. Record “gift” where the title asks for a purchase price. (If there is an actual purchase price, record that amount instead.)
    3. 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.)
    4. 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.

    Gifting a Vehicle

    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 may not have to pay taxes.

    As the recipient of the gifted vehicle, you may need to be prepared to:

    1. 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.
    2. 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.
    3. Head to your local title and tag office with the:
      • Title.
      • Bill of Sale.
      • Proof of identification.
      • $15 for the titling fee, and 1.50 for the processing and commission fees.

    You can register the vehicle at the same time you title it; however, you must have proof of insurance when you do. Visit our section on vehicle registration for specific requirements and fees.

    Donating a Vehicle

    Please refer to our section on vehicle donation for tips about the donation process, including choosing a qualified charity.

    Inheriting a Vehicle

    The process to transfer the title of an inherited vehicle may vary depending on the exact situation.

    Once you’re ready for the title transfer, you may need to take these steps:

    1. If the estate doesn’t require probate, complete and have notarized a Affidavit for Assignment of Title for a Vehicle From a Deceased Owner Whose Estate Does Not Require Probate (Form MVT 5-6).
    2. Complete the title transfer when you visit your local title and tag office with:
      • The above form, 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.

    Making Name Corrections

    Changing a Name

    You may need to:

    1. Gather up the documents that prove your legal name or name change. These may include a birth certificate, marriage certificate, or divorce decree.
    2. 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.

    Vital records come in handy during situations that require proof of your legal name. You can find more information about making name changes when you visit Changing Your Name.

    Deleting a Name

    You may need to:

    1. Have the person whose name you’re deleting from the title properly sign the title over to you.
    2. 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

    You may need to:

    1. Obtain proof of insurance for the person whose name you’re adding to the title.
    2. 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.

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