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  • Title Transfers in Kentucky

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    What is a Title Transfer?

    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.

    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

    Selling a Vehicle

    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, you may need to take the following steps to transfer the title:

    1. Make sure both you and the buyer completes, dates, and signs the current title, as well as have it notarized.
    2. Complete and have notarized with the seller an Odometer Disclosure Statement.
    3. Complete and have notarized with the seller a Bill of Sale. You may want to keep a copy for your records.
    4. Give the paperwork to the buyer so he can visit his County Clerk’s office.

    Buying a Vehicle

    New Cars

    When you purchase a new vehicle, your dealer will handle the title transfer for you.

    Used Cars

    When you’re ready to transfer the title, you may need to take the following steps:

    1. Complete, sign, date, and have notarized the title with the seller.
    2. Make sure the seller properly records the odometer reading on the Odometer Disclosure Statement, then sign and date the statement and have it notarized.
    3. Complete, sign, date, and have notarized a Bill of Sale with the seller.
    4. Visit your County Clerk’s office.

    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.

    Removing a Lien

    Once you pay off your loan, your lienholder will send you a termination statement. You may need to:

    1. Complete an Application for Kentucky Title/Registration.
    2. Visit your County Clerk’s office.

    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.

    Gifting a Vehicle

    Both the current owner and new owner will follow similar title processes to those described above. The following steps may apply:

    1. The current owner and new owner must complete, sign, date, and have notarized the title.
    2. The current owner and new owner must complete, sign, date and have notarized the Odometer Disclosure Statement.
    3. The new owner must head to his County Clerk’s office.

    New owners of gifted vehicles must pay taxes; however:

    1. The current owner can enter “gift” for the sale price, and the new owner must pay taxes based on the trade-in value.
    2. 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.

    Donating a Vehicle

    If you’re interested in donating a vehicle to charity, visit our section dedicated to car donation for tips and information about qualified charities.

    Making Name Corrections

    Changing a Name

    You may need to:

    1. Gather the legal documents that prove your real name. These may include a marriage certificate, divorce decree, birth certificate, or other court document.
    2. 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).

    Consider obtaining a vital record, which will come in handy should you ever need a legal document that proves your name. Visit Changing Your Name for more information about keeping your name current.

    Deleting a Name

    You may need to:

    1. Have ready:
      • The vehicle’s current lien-free title.
      • Proof of insurance.
      • Picture identification.
      • Your divorce decree and property settlement information, if applicable.
    2. 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

    You may need to:

    1. Have ready:
      • The vehicle’s current title.
      • Proof of insurance.
      • Picture identification for both parties.
    2. 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.
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