Title Transfers in West Virginia
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A vehicle's title is the document that shows who owns the vehicle. When vehicle ownership changes, a title transfer must occur within 60 days.
You must complete a title transfer when:
- You buy or sell a vehicle.
- You pay off your car loan.
- You transfer your vehicle to a family member, or a family member transfers a vehicle to you.
- You gift or donate your vehicle, or you receive a vehicle as a gift or donation.
- You inherit a vehicle.
- You need to make name changes on your current title.
Selling your vehicle is a great way to bring in some extra cash, but keep in mind a buyer wants to feel confident in you and the vehicle's condition before making a purchase―and your word may not be enough. You can boost that confidence when you present the buyer with a Vehicle History Report. This report will give the buyer information about the vehicle's past, as well as prevent the buyer from having to do the research himself.
Once you're ready to complete the transaction, follow these steps to ensure a smooth title transfer:
- Locate the title and, if the vehicle is less than 10 years old, record the current odometer reading. (If the title is damaged, you have no idea where it is, or you need a new title clear of any past lien holders, refer to Replacing a Lost Title.)
- Sign and date the title as the seller.
- Have the buyer complete, sign, and date the title.
- Complete a Bill of Sale with the buyer and have it notarized. (You may want to complete two copies so you can keep one for your records.)
- Give the buyer the paperwork so he can head to his local DMV Regional Office to finish transferring ownership.
Your dealer will handle the title transfer when you purchase a vehicle.
If you haven't purchased a vehicle yet, browse new cars online to save yourself some time.
Purchasing a used car with a healthy Vehicle History Report helps you save money; however, you can be extra kind to your wallet when you choose an affordable auto finance plan and a car insurance policy that won't break your bank account each month.
Once your finances are in order and you're ready to seal the deal, take the following steps:
- Make sure the seller presents you with the correct, properly completed and signed title for the vehicle. (The vehicle identification number on the title must match the one on the vehicle, and the seller must complete the odometer disclosure on the title if the vehicle is less than 10 years old.)
- Complete, sign, and date the title.
- Complete a notarized Bill of Sale with the seller.
- Complete an Application for a Certificate of Title for a Motor Vehicle (Form DMV-1-TR), if the vehicle does not have a WV title.
- Take or mail the above documents and payment for the appropriate fees to your local West Virginia DMV office.
Your fees include:
- $10 for your title.
- A 5% sales tax, if you paid over $500 for the vehicle. Vehicles that cost less than $500 have a minimum $25 sales tax.
- $5 to record any lien information.
NOTE: Don't forget about additional fees related to the vehicle's registration.
Your lien holder will release the lien and send you the title after you pay off your loan.
- Once you receive the title, you have 60 days to apply for a clear title; however, the DMV recommends immediately applying because the lien information will remain on your title until you do so.
- Make an appointment with your DMV Regional Office to apply for a clear title. The fee is $10.
The DMV allows family transfer to occur among immediate family members, such as:
When vehicle ownership transfers from one family member to another, the DMV doesn’t require the new owner to pay any sales tax.
- Have the registered owner properly complete, sign, and date the title, including the odometer disclosure if the vehicle is less than 10 years old.
- Have the new owner complete, sign, and date the title.
- Have the new owner take the title and payment for the $10 title fee to the WV DMV within 60 days.
NOTE: If you’re the new owner, you’ll likely need to register the vehicle in your name, in which case visiting your local DMV Regional Office may be more time efficient than ordering your new title by mail.
Unlike with vehicle ownership transfers among family members, new owners of gifted vehicles must pay 5% of the low-book value of the vehicle. If you’re unsure about the exact dollar amount, a DMV employee can help you.
- The gifter and receiver must complete an Affidavit of Transfer of Ownership Without Consideration (Form DMV-5-TR).
- The current owner, or gifter, must properly sign and date the title, and complete the odometer disclosure if the vehicle is less than 10 years old.
- The new owner, or receiver, must properly complete, sign, and date the title.
- The new owner must take the title, affidavit, and payment for the $10 title fee to the West Virginia DMV.
NOTE: As is the case with family transfers, a new owner of a gifted vehicle may need to also register the vehicle in his name. If you’re the new owner, you can visit your local DMV Regional Office to handle both the registration and titling processes at once. For more information about registering vehicles and fees, visit Car Registration.
Donating your vehicle is an excellent way to help individuals and charities. Our section on car donation offers tips on how to go about donating your vehicle as well as how to choose a qualified charity.
Remember, you become eligible for tax benefits once you donate your vehicle. Consult a tax attorney to prepare yourself for tax season.
When a vehicle owner passes away, that person’s heir can immediately begin the process to claim ownership of the vehicle. Processes do tend to vary, so it’s wise to consult a probate attorney before beginning.
If you are the heir, below are the general steps you must take:
- Have the executor of the deceased’s estate complete the title (sign, date, and complete the odometer disclosure if the vehicle is less than 10 years old) as the “seller.” If no executer exists, you must complete a Legal Heir Affidavit (Form DMV-185-TR).
- Sign and date the title yourself as the “buyer.
- Bring the title, registration card, insurance information, a certified copy of court appointment documents (if applicable), and any other documents to the West Virginia DMV. You will not need to pay any fees as long as all required papers are attached.
For more information about inheriting a vehicle, visit the West Virginia DMV website.
NOTE: If you visit the DMV in person, you can handle the registration process on the same day. Please visit Car Registration for details about the process and additional fees.
Once the vehicle belongs to you, you must properly insure it before you can drive it. Our Insurance Center provides information about minimum coverage requirements and helps you shop for an affordable rate online.Other Topics in This Section