Title Transfers in Kentucky
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A title is the legal document that shows vehicle ownership; without one, you really have no way of proving you own your vehicle. And, when vehicle ownership changes, so must the name on the title. This is called a title transfer, and you must complete it within 30 days.
Examples of situations that call for title transfers include:
- Buying or selling a vehicle
- Satisfying a lien
- Transferring, gifting, donating, or inheriting a vehicle
- Making name changes on a title
If you’ve ever purchased a vehicle, you understand the concerns buyers experience. Handing over a large chunk of cash for a product that must be reliable, durable, and safe can be stressful, but you can ease your buyer’s worries when you offer them a Vehicle History Report (VHR). A VHR provides information about a vehicle’s history, and helps the buyer understand exactly what he’s purchasing.
Once you have a buyer, take the following steps to transfer the title:
- Make sure both you and the buyer completes, dates, and signs the current title, as well as have it notarized.
- Complete and have notarized with the seller an Odometer Disclosure Statement.
- Complete and have notarized with the seller a Bill of Sale. You may want to keep a copy for your records.
- Give the paperwork to the buyer so he can visit his County Clerk’s office within 30 days to complete the transaction. Of course, you can tag along to make sure the vehicle is no longer in your name.
When you purchase a new vehicle, your dealer will handle the title transfer for you.
However, you may be able to save some time and money when you shop online for a new vehicle before heading straight to the dealership.
Once you know what kind of vehicle you’re looking for, make sure you shop around for an auto finance option that suits your budget and an affordable car insurance policy that meets minimum coverage requirements.
When you’re ready to transfer the title, take the following steps:
- Complete, sign, date, and have notarized the title with the seller.
- Make sure the seller properly records the odometer reading on the Odometer Disclosure Statement, then sign and date the statement and have it notarized.
- Complete, sign, date, and have notarized a Bill of Sale with the seller.
- Visit your County Clerk’s office within 30 days to complete the transaction and pay the title-only fee of $9. Be sure to bring proof of insurance and picture identification.
Your County Clerk’s office handles vehicle titles and registrations, so you may want to handle both during the same visit. Refer to Car Registration for information about registering your vehicle.
Once you pay off your loan, your lienholder will send you a termination statement.
- Complete an Application for Kentucky Title/Registration.
- Visit your County Clerk’s office within 30 days with the termination statement, application, and current title.
NOTE: Generally, your County Clerk will sign off on the title, showing the lien is satisfied and you’re now the sole owner. There’s no fee for this service, and it’s recognized statewide. However, if you want a new title, the County Clerk will issue you a duplicate. Call ahead for exact fees.
Only the following family members can transfer vehicles to one another without paying additional fees and taxes:
Both parties must reside in Kentucky for this to apply.
Once the two family members are ready to make the transfer:
- Both parties must complete, sign, date, and have notarized the title.
- Both parties must complete, sign, date, and have notarized an Odometer Disclosure Statement.
- The new owner must visit his County Clerk’s office within 30 days with proof of insurance, picture identification, and the appropriate fee ($9 for a title-only transfer; for a title and plate transfer, contact the County Clerk’s office).
NOTE: The new owner will need to register the vehicle in his name. This service is also available at the County Clerk’s office. Please refer to our section on vehicle registration for specific details.
Both the current owner and new owner will follow similar title processes to those described above.
- The current owner and new owner must complete, sign, date, and have notarized the title.
- The current owner and new owner must complete, sign, date and have notarized the Odometer Disclosure Statement.
- The new owner must head to his County Clerk’s office within 30 days with proof of insurance and picture identification to complete the transaction. This includes paying applicable fees and taxes (see below).
New owners of gifted vehicles must pay taxes; however, there are two options:
- The current owner can enter “gift” for the sale price, and the new owner must pay taxes based on the trade-in value.
- The current owner can actually enter a price for the sale price, and the new owner must pay 6% of that price.
NOTE: Unless the title transfer also included a plate transfer, chances are the gift recipient will need to go through the registration process. Visit Car Registration for details.
If you’re interested in donating a vehicle to charity, visit our section dedicated to car donation for tips and information about qualified charities.
Also remember to consult a tax attorney for specific information about the tax benefits that come along with donating a vehicle.
The steps to complete a title transfer after the original owner has passed away may vary greatly depending on the exact situation, so it’s best to solicit the help of a probate attorney before taking any action.
General steps may include the following:
- The executor of the deceased’s estate must complete, sign, and date the title as the “seller.”
- The person inheriting the vehicle must complete, sign, and date the title as the “buyer.”
- Both parties should contact the County Clerk’s office before visiting to determine:
- Additional necessary paperwork.
- Exact fees and applicable taxes.
- Required proof of insurance and identification.
NOTE: The County Clerk’s office can also handle the vehicle’s registration process. See our section on vehicle registration for more information.
You can’t legally operate a motor vehicle unless it’s covered with adequate liability and no-fault personal injury insurance. Visit our Insurance Center for details and to shop online for affordable car insurance.
Changing a Name
- Gather the legal documents that prove your real name. These may include a marriage certificate, divorce decree, birth certificate, or other court document.
- Visit your County Clerk’s office with the above documents, the current title, proof of insurance, picture identification, and the appropriate fee (may vary by county and whether you want a new or duplicate title).
Deleting a Name
- Have ready:
- The vehicle’s current lien-free title.
- Proof of insurance.
- Picture identification.
- Your divorce decree and property settlement information, if applicable.
- Before visiting your County Clerk’s office, call ahead to determine:
- Whether both parties need to be present. This is usually based on how the names are joined (“and,” “or,” or “and/or”), but the steps may vary.
- Applicable fees. Fees will vary depending on the kind of title you want.
Adding a Name
- Have ready:
- The vehicle’s current title.
- Proof of insurance.
- Picture identification for both parties.
- Before visiting your County Clerk’s office, call ahead to determine the applicable fees and taxes. Fees will vary depending on the kind of title you want, and taxes will vary depending on a number of situations.
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
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