Title Transfers in New York
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A title, or pink slip, proves that you own your vehicle. If money is owed to a lender, then the lender will have the title. If you own your vehicle outright, you have the title.
When a vehicle gets a new owner you must transfer the title. This benefits both parties. Without the title, the new owner will be unable to register the vehicle in his or her name, and the old owner will still be responsible for it even if it’s left his hands.
Reasons for a title transfer include:
- Transferring to family
- Paying off a loan
When you sell your car, you want to get the best price possible. The buyer wants to get the best deal that he can. One way to convince buyers that your car is worth more is to order a Vehicle History Report on your car. That way, you can show the buyer neutral proof of your car’s condition, and that you care enough about honesty to buy the report for the buyer.
After you and the buyer decide on a price and you’re ready to hand over the keys, you should remove both the license plates and the registration sticker from the vehicle and turn the plates in to the DMV (unless you transfer them to another vehicle). Otherwise, you may be liable for traffic or parking violations committed by the new owner.
- Make copies of everything.
- Dig out your title. Fill out the mileage and damage report on the back. If your name is already on there because you bought it from someone else, you’ll have to get a new title from the DMV. Losing a title requires a different form.
- Sign and date the title.
- If you have a lien on the title, you’ll have to contact your lienholder. You can still transfer the title if you give the buyer proof of the lien removal.
- Fill out a Bill of Sale as proof of this transaction.
- Fill out Form DTF 802 and have your buyer fill it out. This calculates the sales tax.
- Give the title to the buyer. He will take it to the DMV to register the car and pay the fees.
Transferring a title on a new car from a dealer is easy for the buyer―the dealer takes care of it.
Before you make a decision, be sure to thoroughly research your choices. In this day and age, shopping around for a new car is extra easy when you use the Internet.
Before you plunk down money for a car, it’s smart to plan out your purchase ahead of time. First, look at affordability. How much of a car can you afford? Then, you’ll have to either put down the whole amount in cash or look into car loans. That’s not all―you’ll need car insurance right away. Your premium amount may affect whether or not the car is a good buy; some cars cost more to insure than others. You can look at different quotes at our Insurance Center.
Once you have a make and model you’re interested in, you should always get a look at the car’s history. A Vehicle History Report will tell you whether the car’s ever been in a major accident and other vital information.
When dealing with private sellers of used cars, never leave without having a signed and dated title in your possession. Relying on their word that they will bring or mail the title to you after the fact is just plain foolhardy.
- The seller will date and sign the title, and fill out the odometer/damage report on the back. Be sure the odometer reading matches what’s on the car.
- Sign and date the title.
- Get a Bill of Sale. and Form DTF 802 to calculate the sales tax.
- Go in to the DMV with your title and be prepared to register the car and pay all applicable fees, including sales tax.
Once you’ve paid off your loan, you may want to get the lienholder’s name from your title. This isn’t a requirement; you can also just clip the proof of release to your title for when you sell your car later on.
The lienholder will either send you Form MV-901 (Notice of a Recorded Lien) or you can get a letter from the lienholder stating the loan is paid off. Send the letter or the form and your old title (with the lien still listed) and $20 to:
- Lien Release
- NYSDMV Title Services
- Department of Motor Vehicles
- 6 Empire State Plaza
- Albany, NY 12228-0331
In 60-90 days, you’ll get your new title in the mail. You can also go in person to a DMV office to get the lien removed, but it will still be mailed to you, so you won’t save time that way.
A family transfer means gifting your vehicle to your spouse, child, step-child, parent or step-parent.
- Fill out a sales tax form. There’s a space on this to say it’s a gift.
- The owner fills out and signs the back of the title, entering the odometer reading/damage statement.
- Have the new owner go to the DMV and fill out a Application for Title form.
- Pay the $50.00 fee for a new title.
Gifting a vehicle doesn’t mean you can just sign the title over and not pay any more taxes on it. You may still have to pay taxes on the current market value of the vehicle.
In either case, you must:
- Fill out the odometer and damage statement on the back of the title. Don’t do this part until you’re ready to get the keys; scratching out information renders this certificate invalid.
- Get a bill of sale to prove ownership. The giver must indicate that the purchase price is $0 and that this is a gift.
- Fill out a sales tax form. This form also has a formula for figuring out the fees.
- Take these forms in to a DMV office.
- Fill out a Application for Title form.
- Pay the $50.00 fee.
While you’re there, you’ll need to register your new car in your name. Be sure to bring your ID and proof of insurance.
Donating a car has many benefits. You get to feel good for helping out a charity, and you get a nice tax break.
Taxes can be tricky, especially because the laws tend to change annually. To get the most out of your donation, it would be wise to consult a tax attorney for more information.
After a family member passes away, an immediate family member may use the car until the registration or insurance expires. You can also claim his or her vehicle before then. It can get complicated, especially if the vehicle is worth more than $15,000; you might want to consult a probate attorney.
Surviving Spouse or Immediate Family Transfer
- If the vehicle is worth equal to or less than $15,000, it automatically goes to the surviving spouse or child under age 21 (in which case, the guardian will complete these next steps.)
- Fill out the Application for Title form at any DMV office.
- Sign the title over to yourself, writing “spouse” under the signature; or “guardian” in the case of a child.
- Pay $50.00 for a new title (cash, check, or credit.)
- You get a credit for the remainder of the registration time (no need to re-register) and you get to keep the plates.
If you’re the spouse and wish to transfer the title to someone else, then:
- Get the Affidavit for Transfer of Motor Vehicle notarized.
- Give the new owner a death certificate copy.
- The new owner takes the notarized form and the copy of the death certificate to the DMV, applies for a new title, and pays the $50.00 fee.
- The new owner must also register the car.
Estate Administrator Transfer
The vehicles become part of the estate if there is more than one vehicle, or the one vehicle is worth more than $15,000. In this case, it’s up to the estate’s administrator or Executor to transfer the title.
- Apply for Letters Testamentary and either Letters of Administration or a Voluntary Administrator's Affidavit from your county's surrogate court.
- Have the Executor or Administrator sign over the title to you. Write “Executor (or Administrator) under the signature.
- A completed Vehicle Registration/Title Application.
- Proof of vehicle insurance.
- All applicable fees and taxes.
Then, the process will be like a normal car registration.
Make sure you’re adequately insured before you go into the DMV to register. If you need to shop around, look in our Insurance Center to get some quick quotes.
Changing a Name
- Complete a Vehicle Registration/Title Application form.
- Drop it off in person at any DMV office. Be sure to bring the marriage certificate, divorce documents, or court order certifying the name change.
- There is no charge.
- Your new title will be mailed to you.
If you don't have a copy of your marriage certificate or other document, you can order a vital record, such as a copy of the marriage certificate. To learn how to update the DMV on your name change for more than your title, see changing your name.
Deleting a Name
- The person exiting the title must sign the title over to the other person.
- Bring the title to a DMV with your ID and the $50.00 fee (cash, check, or credit card).
Adding a Name
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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