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Does an Auto Title Transfer Need to be Notarized?

Tricia Christensen
Updated Jan 21, 2024
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In many US states, title transfer of an automobile usually does not require the services of a notary. The owner signs a form that shifts ownership to a new person. The document is then filed with the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) so the previous owner is no longer responsible for the car or any damage the car might incur.

While California does not require notary services, for example, Arizona does require notary services before title transfer. The best way to check is to find the website or the phone number of one’s state DMV to inquire about individual laws.

One may want to have a title transfer notarized regardless of laws, because it proves one’s surrender of a vehicle. If a new owner fails to register the car in his or her name, then one might still be held liable for fees or damage associated with the vehicle.

Where states don’t require notarization for title transfer, one can avoid the hassle by joining the new owner at the local DMV to make sure that ownership now reflects the new owner. One usually has to bring the signed form, and the original pink slip of the car to complete this process.

Some auto clubs allow one to skip the long lines at the DMV and complete the title transfer process through them. AAA is particularly good at both filing forms, and providing notary service when required so that the previous owner is exempt from further involvement with the car. Often auto clubs offer this service for free or for a very low price as a part of membership.

Common sense suggests verifying that one is no longer considered the owner of the car. This is particularly true if one is selling the car to a stranger. Notary services do prove that one has transferred title, but really the most effective way is to file or witness the filing of a title transfer, so no mistakes arise in the future.

WikiMotors is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Tricia Christensen
By Tricia Christensen , Writer
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a WikiMotors contributor, Tricia Christensen is based in Northern California and brings a wealth of knowledge and passion to her writing. Her wide-ranging interests include reading, writing, medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion, all of which she incorporates into her informative articles. Tricia is currently working on her first novel.

Discussion Comments

By anon71999 — On Mar 21, 2010

My sister has given my oldest daughter her car as a gift. She signed the title over to her. Is this car legally my daughter's car or does the title need to be notarized?

By anon70624 — On Mar 15, 2010

what happens when a title has two family names on it and one family member is deemed unable to drive because of health reasons. Secondly, the car is in another state with those tags. What course of action do i have to take with DMV of NJ to have the title put in my name only and remove my parents.

By anon55285 — On Dec 06, 2009

i want to sell my car to another person. do I have to get the title notarized before I sell it? Both parties live in AZ.

By envious — On Sep 30, 2008

i have my car but its under my moms name and i want to know how much i gotta pay to transfer it to my name, because they told me i have to pay $400 for that.

By anon3441 — On Aug 29, 2007

I am giving a car to my family - I live in Wisconsin they live in Indiana - is it required to have the title notarized?

Tricia Christensen

Tricia Christensen


With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a WikiMotors contributor, Tricia...
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