Removing One Name From A Car Title

If There Are Two Names On A Car Title, How To Remove One?

The certificate of title is more than just a simple piece of paper; it’s legal proof of ownership over your car. Whether it’s for divorce, death, gift transfer, or sales reasons… Any change in your car’s ownership needs to be reflected on the title certificate for proper record keeping. But some cars have two names on the title as joint owners, so if there are two, how can you remove one?

Thankfully, the process of removing one of those names for a jointly owned car is not a complicated one. First off, the person forgoing their ownership of the car needs to sign as the SELLER, as the individual assuming sole ownership signs as the BUYER. These rules apply to all states, but the specific steps might vary slightly from one state to another.

How To Remove A Name From A Car Title With Two Names?

Some of the reasons why you’d need to remove a name for a jointly owned car with two names in the title might include cases of divorce, death, gifting the car, or selling the vehicle. While the principle remains the same, as noted earlier, the specific process differs from state to state. As such, it’s crucial to refer to your state’s DMV for the procedure.

Each state’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), or an equivalent organization, is the one responsible for managing, practicing record-keeping, handling, and issuing each car’s title. Therefore, give them a call or visit their offices, and ask them what the actual process is. That said, for a car title with two names on it,  here’s generally how to remove one:

Step 1: Get Consent From The Other Owner

Let’s say your car has two names on the title – one is your own, and the other belongs to the joint owner – here’s how to remove the latter’s name… Firstly, you’ll need to get consent, either in writing or via a consent form, from the other person, whose name you’re removing. It’s usually easier if you’re the one who’s pulling or removing your own name.

If the title has three or more names, and goes with “OR” in the name, you need only one person’s consent to remove a name (the person whose name is being removed). But, if the title only says “AND”, all parties must agree to any name removal, even if it’s just one. Consent for this is to protect the interests of the co-owner or owners.

Step 2: Find Out The Right Procedure

Removing One Name From A Car Title

As mentioned earlier, while Step #1 is basically the same across every state, the actual procedures, documentation, and paperwork vary from state to state. So, if there are two names on a car title and need to remove one, check online or at your local DMV office to see what your state’s requirements or legal process is for a name change.

For example, some states use the process of third-party car sales. Others, on the other hand, remove the name quite simply without much ado. Some other states may require an affidavit, just to remove a name from a car title with two or more names. So, make sure you’re aware of how it’s done in your state, and follow the process accordingly.

Step 3: Consult With The Car’s Lienholder

Note, this step only applies if you have a loan active on the car in question. Things will be slightly different if a lienholder is on the certificate title due to a loan or lease on the car at the moment. The lienholder must agree to any changes you make to the title. However, if there is no loan due to pay off, you will not need the permission of the lienholder.

Before any changes are made to the certificate title, including adding a name, removing a name, joint ownership, sale of a car, etc., the lienholder has to permit changes to the car title until the loan is paid in full. Remember, the vehicle is not yours to own entirely. So, before you proceed, contact your car’s lienholder and ask them about what to do.

Step 4: Get All The Necessary Documentation

To complete this process, you’ll likely need to gather documents like driver’s licenses from both parties, death certificates if needed, affidavits, insurance papers, and current car mileage. Again, what paperwork each state’s DMVs need will vary. But, making these documents readily available saves time, and you might also have to update the insurance.

Some other documents that you might be asked to provide might include… The original certificate of title (this is self-explanatory), registration form from the DMV, proof of an insurance plan, and some states might also ask for the bill of sale or proof of tax returns. In some states, your car might also need to go through an inspection beforehand.

Step 5: Complete The Transfer & Note The Paperwork

It’s vital to pay close attention, so you don’t get anything wrong. The wrong information or steps will disqualify your request. Some states will ask for a notarized signature. Note that the seller is the person going out of the record, and the buyer is the one remaining on the title deed. Both the buyer and seller need to sign for the change to be valid.

Cases of removing a name due to divorce are a special case. The change has to be per the divorce agreement. As such, the title must reflect who got full ownership. The loser will sign as the seller. And, the gainer is the buyer, making them the sole owner of the vehicle. Some states charge a tax for a title change, but in divorce cases, some remove the tax charge.

Meanwhile, removing a name from a title after death takes a different path. The co-owner can choose to keep using the car under the name it’s currently on or to prepare the necessary papers for a new car title. These documents would include the death certificate if the title was in the surviving member’s name and an affidavit to be acted upon by an executor.

Step 6: Head To Your Local DMV Office

The next thing you’ll need to do is to go to your state DMV office close to you with all the paperwork requirements. Some states even accept mail delivery. Alternatively, some states require vehicle license plates, which is why it is necessary to have prior knowledge of your state process. If you’re heading there in person, make an appointment to save on time.

Step 7: Update Your Car’s Insurance Info

This part is as just as important as removing a name on a car title that has two. The car title and insurance must have the same name. Therefore, if there are still two names (of the original joint owners) on the insurance papers, one needs to be removed. Once you get a new title, ensure to update your insurance information for reliable insurance services.

After submission and review, you will get a new title reflecting the name removal and maybe a new license plate using the new name. The insurance documentation from earlier should also reflect this change. It’s a good idea to double-check the new paperwork and ensure that everything is in good order. That said, removing a name from the title is simple.

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