In many states across the United States (U.S), car ownership is based on the name that appears in the title of the car. Each state has regulations governing its own titles, so every time a car ownership or status changes, the owner must obtain and sign car title. However, the process of titling a car varies depending on whether the car is used or new, though in both cases, they follow the basic rules of ownership.
Car ownership is based on whose name appears on the car title. To do so, you need to collect the important information and fill out the Department of Motor Vehicle (DMV) forms.
Ownership of a Used Car
The transfer of ownership section of a car title is where a buyer and seller write in their names, addresses, sale price, and signatures. The title must be in the seller's name for the seller to be able to fill out this section. Likewise, the person who fills out the buyer portions of this section is the person in whose name the car will be titled. Therefore, if another person signed as the buyer on the car title, that person is the only one who can get a title in his name right now.
However, if another person signed the car and you would want to put the car in your name, the signee must transfer car title to you. Without a transfer, it is impossible to register the car under your name if the title was signed by another person. a legal proceeding to change the car title can be filed before the courts. Another way would be to report the car as stolen and the current ownership as fraudulent.
New Car Ownership
With a new car, the dealership usually takes care of the title paperwork. The person who signs the paperwork at the dealership and pays for the car is the person whose name will appear on the title. Therefore, if you are planning to title the car in your name, you should go to the dealership. If you are getting financing for the car, the loan will need to be in your name as well.
If for any reason, another person signs the title and you would like to put the car under your name, the person must initiate a process to transfer car title to you. There is no other way of putting the car under your name if another person signed the title as they legally own the car unless they financed the car or held it for a minor. Having your name on the title of the car indicates legal ownership and if another person signs the title, legal procedures must be followed to change the title name.
Transferring a Car Title
If someone else signed the title, but the car is supposed to be in your name, that person will need to transfer the title to you. First, he will need to obtain a title in his name by going to the state department of motor vehicles, paying the title transfer fee and waiting for the title to arrive. At this point, the two of you can fill out the portion on that title to transfer ownership, with him as the seller and you as the borrower. Then you can take this to the department of motor vehicles to get a title in your name.
To put the car on your name, you may need to file a claim of title jumping. Title jumping is a process where buyers acquire the vehicle and sell it before finalizing the transfer of the title. It is an illegal process since owners avoid transfer fees, registration fees, and sales taxes by jumping the process.
A seller is legally obligated to complete the transfer as failure to change the title name in the car will lead to traffic and parking tickets being written on their name. Most U.S states that all owners that are listed on title print to sign their name while transferring ownership.
Car Loan Issues
Buying a new car can be exciting as well as stressful. In addition, getting a good deal is also costly, and getting a new car often means taking a loan. Once the loan is in place, the lender holds onto the title until the loan that was paid in full which point the title reverts to the buyer. Although a lender can hold the car title until the loan is paid, the title itself generally names the driver of the vehicle as the owner.
After the car loan is paid, the title of the car is still in the name of the lender. The lender must transfer the car title to the borrower. In that case, the process must be initiated as the bank or financial institution as the transferor to the transferee. However, if the car title was signed by another person such as a spouse or friend, they must transfer the car to the owner for the records to reflect the new owner.
Some states allow the buyer has the right to add another name to the title. However, the person will need to be present to sign. They delay the purchase process as they wait for the co-owner to meet with you and the seller. For example, in case a car is part of an inheritance going to a minor, the minor cannot have a car registered under their name but the name of the minor can be indicated on the ownership forms.
Some Issues to Consider
Can you put a car under my name if someone else signed the car title? Yes, you can register the car if the title is in someone else name.
A car title is a record of the owner, registration is a record of a driver, and in many cases, these may be different people. For example, a mom lets a son borrow a car for college, borrowing a friend's car for an extended time, wife, and husband. Different states require different documents before you can sign a car title or transfer the car title to the new owner.
Some states require a signed document from the title owner while other states require the registration and title holder to go to DMV together. Some states allow more than a registrant on a car registration such as wife and husband or two roommates sharing a car. Some states do not allow cars to be titled in the name of a minor. Therefore, the parent signs the title and obtains a new title in his name.
When the minor reaches adulthood, the parent might want to transfer ownership to the child. In this case, the parent and child must follow the instructions to transfer the title as if they were two independent parties. To avoid the hassle and cost of a title transfer, check before buying a car to see if it can be titled in the minor's name right away.