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  • Title Transfers in Illinois

    What is a Title Transfer?

    A title is a legal document that establishes ownership of property. Since all vehicles in the state need to be have a title, when you buy or sell a vehicle, a title transfer must take place to allow the Secretary of State (SOS) office to keep track of who currently owns the vehicle.

    Some common reasons for title transfers include:

    • Buying a vehicle
    • Selling a vehicle
    • Paying off a loan
    • Transferring a vehicle to a family member
    • Gifting or donating a vehicle
    • Inheriting a vehicle
    • Making name corrections

    Selling a Vehicle

    Buying a vehicle understandably makes people a little apprehensive, as usually there's a lot of money involved. As a seller, obtaining a vehicle history report is an excellent to calm these jitters, and should facilitate the selling of your vehicle.

    Once you've sold the vehicle, you should:

    1. Locate the title.
    2. Fill in the odometer section.
    3. Fill in the buyer's name (be sure to include the correct spelling).
    4. Sign and date the title.
    5. Verify that the buyer has correctly included the necessary information and signed the title.

    The buyer will then need to bring the paperwork to a SOS office, and follow the instructions listed below. You might want to accompany the buyer to the office, just to be able to correct a mistake that might have been made in the title transfer.

    Also, while you're not required to do so, completing a bill of sale is a smart move to further protect yourself in this transaction.

    Buying a Vehicle

    New Vehicles

    In almost all these cases, the dealer will handle the title transfer for you. If the dealer fails to comply, call the SOS at (800) 252-8980 or write to them.

    Used Vehicles

    For most people, buying a car (new or used) is second only to housing purchases in terms of money spent. So, you'll obviously want to proceed cautiously when purchasing a vehicle.

    Another thing to be cautious about, always insist on walking away with the signed-over title in your hands; never take the word of a seller that they "will mail it to you once they pay off the lienholder." If a title is not free and clear, you should reconsider whether you should go through with the deal.

    Purchasing a vehicle history report or is a sound move, once you've narrowed your choices.

    Once you've made your decision and finished the sale, you'll need to transfer the title by:

    1. Making sure the seller has correctly completed the applicable sections.
    2. Confirming that the seller signed and dated the title.
    3. Verifying the mileage reading.
    4. Checking to make sure the vehicle identification number (VIN) matches.
    5. Signing and dating the title.
    6. Completing Application for Vehicle Transaction(s) form VSD 190
    7. Filling out tax form RUT-25.
    8. Heading to a SOS location (or mailing the material to the address listed below).
    9. Paying the use tax (if applicable).
    10. Paying the $95 title fee.

    While at the SOS office, you may register the vehicle and pay the registration fees.

    If you prefer to process the transfer through the mail, you may be able to send all the required documents and fee payment to:

    • Secretary of State
    • Vehicle Services Department
    • ERT Section, Rm 424
    • Expedited Title, Rm. 434
    • 501 S. 2nd St.
    • Springfield, IL 62756

    Removing a Lien

    Once you pay off your loan, the lienholder should release you from the lien and return the title to you. If the lienholder fails to do so, contact the SOS at (800) 252-8980 for instructions on how to proceed.

    Transferring to Family

    For the sake of this section, "family" refers to:

    • Mother
    • Father
    • Brother
    • Sister

    When transferring a vehicle between family members, the same title rules apply as those between non-family members. If the transfer/correction is due to a death, it's a fixed fee of $15.

    To transfer a vehicle within a family, you may need to:

    1. Seller must locate the title.
    2. Seller must complete the odometer section.
    3. Seller must record the buyer's name.
    4. Seller must sign and date the title.
    5. Buyer should be sure the seller has correctly completed the applicable sections and signed and dated the title.
    6. Buyer should confirm the mileage reading.
    7. Buyer should see if the VIN matches.
    8. Buyer must sign and date the title.
    9. Buyer must fill out form VSD 190.
    10. Buyer must complete tax form RUT-25.
    11. Buyer should go to a SOS location (or mail the material to the address listed below).
    12. Buyer must pay the use tax.
    13. Buyer must pay the $95 title fee.

    For mail transactions, send all the required documents and the fee payments to:

    • Secretary of State
    • Vehicle Services Department
    • ERT Section, Rm. 424
    • Expedited Title, Rm. 434
    • 501 S. 2nd St.
    • Springfield, IL. 62756

    Gifting a Vehicle

    If you receive a vehicle as a gift (meaning you didn't pay anything for it), you should handle the title transaction in the same manner as if you purchased the vehicle. The sales tax you'll pay will be based on the vehicle's model year value, or $15 if the transfer is between a mother, father, brother, or sister.

    To process the title transfer, you may need to:

    1. Verify that the seller has correctly completed the applicable sections and signed and dated the title.
    2. Confirm the odometer reading.
    3. Check if the VIN matches.
    4. Sign and date the title.
    5. Fill out form VSD 190 (use form VSD-330 if you won't be registering the vehicle).
    6. Complete tax form RUT-25.
    7. Travel to a SOS location (or mail the material to the address listed below).
    8. Pay the use tax.
    9. Pay the $95 title fee.

    While at the SOS office, you may register the vehicle and pay the registration fees.

    When processing the transaction through the mail, send all the required documents and the fee payments to:

    • Secretary of State
    • Vehicle Services Department
    • ERT Section, Rm 424
    • Expedited Title, Rm. 434
    • 501 S. 2nd St
    • Springfield, IL 62756

    Donating a Vehicle

    While giving your vehicle to charity is a kind gesture, you should be sure of what you're doing before you proceed, as these matters can be surprisingly complex.

    Inheriting a Vehicle

    In an effort to try to simplify these types of situations, both new title certificates and title applications contain a space where the vehicle owner may list the individual (beneficiary) who will receive the vehicle should the vehicle owner pass away.

    While the SOS provides guidelines for handling different scenarios, here's how to handle the common situation of when probate is not involved and the estate's value is not more than $100,000:

    1. Locate the title.
    2. Obtain a copy of the death certificate.
    3. Complete the Small Estate Affidavit form.
    4. Complete VSD 190.
    5. Complete tax form RUT-25.
    6. Go to a SOS office.
    7. Pay the use tax fee.
    8. Pay the $95 title fee.

    You can register the vehicle and pay the registration fees while at the SOS office.

    To find the best insurance coverage for the vehicle, consult our Insurance Center.

    Making Name Corrections

    Changing a Name

    To change your name on the title, you may need to:

    1. Change your name on your license first.
    2. Go to a SOS office.
    3. Bring your title, registration, and photo ID.
    4. Bring the legal document declaring the name change.
    5. Complete form VSD 190.
    6. Pay the fee ($15 for certain changes; $95 regularly).

    Consult our article on name changes for more information. Also, in these situations, it's always good to have a copy of your vital records on hand, too.

    Deleting a Name

    To remove a name due to a divorce you may need to:

    1. Go to a SOS office.
    2. Bring either a letter from your ex-spouse declaring permission to have the name removed, or a copy of the divorce decree showing that the vehicle belongs to you.
    3. Complete form VSD 190.
    4. Pay the fee ($15 for divorces; $95 regularly).

    To remove a name due to a death:

    1. Go to a SOS office.
    2. Bring a certified copy of the death certificate (if the matter is in probate, bring certified copies of letters of administration or court order).
    3. Complete form VSD 190.
    4. Pay the fee ($15 for deaths; $95 regular title fee).

    Adding a Name

    To add a name, you may need to:

    1. Go to a SOS office with the person whose name is being added.
    2. Pay the fee, which differs according the circumstance, but will either be $15 or $95.