Whether you’re selling a car, buying one, or want to put your car into someone else’s name, knowing how to transfer a car title in Ohio is important. The state has different rules than other states, and here’s what you should know to keep the process legal.
Transferring a used motor vehicle title through a sale
The most common way to transfer a title is by buying or selling a vehicle. For the seller to put the title in someone else’s name, they must fill out the “assignment of ownership” section of the back of the original car title. If the title is in more than one person’s name, both owners must be present and provide their information.
Each of the following sections must be completed:
- Purchase price
- Date of the sale
- Buyer’s name and info
- The mileage of the car at the time of the sale, verified by both parties
- Any liens
- Seller’s signature, properly notarized
The seller(s) cannot give the buyer the title until it has been witnessed and signed by a notary. Once the completed title is given to the buyer, the buyer has 30 days to pay sales and use tax on the price of the vehicle and complete the transfer before it’s legally theirs.
How to transfer a car title to a family member
The Ohio BMV doesn’t specifically address transferring titles between living family members. The process is similar to a private sale, but you won’t have a purchase price and there may be no sales taxes paid on the vehicle. You will still need to fill out the title accurately, have it notarized, and complete the title transfer process.
How to transfer the car title of a deceased family member
There are currently four ways to easily obtain a title from a family member who has passed away.
1. Beneficiary designation
Ohio has made it simple to transfer a car title to a surviving family member, provided the deceased person filled out an Affidavit to Designate a Beneficiary form. This form states that, upon death, the beneficiary may make a claim on the vehicle and have the title transferred to them without going through legal proceedings.
2. Rights of survivorship
Another way to easily transfer is by using the Rights of Survivorship (WROS). With WROS and the two names on the title, it can be transferred to the surviving person after the other’s death. The new title would be in the survivor’s name, along with a note that it was acquired by right of survivorship.
3. Without rights of survivorship
If the title doesn’t indicate WROS, then the survivor must get the approval and signature of the executor or administrator of the estate of the deceased before transferring the title.
4. Surviving spouse
If the original owner was married, the surviving spouse may apply for a title transfer. The spouse needs to fill out a Clerk of Courts Surviving Spouse Affidavit (Form BMV 3773). The total of all the vehicles transferred (including one motorboat) cannot total $65,000.
This method of transfer only applies if the vehicles aren’t being managed by a will or estate distribution. Any liens on the vehicle will be carried forward to the surviving spouse and must be repaid as agreed to in the loan contract.
Items to bring with you for a title transfer
In addition to the completed and notarized title, the person receiving the car title must bring:
- an application for a certificate of title to a motor vehicle (form BMV 3774)
- State-issued photo ID or a passport
- Sales tax on the purchase price
If the transfer is of the car title of a deceased person, the new owner must bring a death certificate and a copy of the Affidavit to Designate a Beneficiary form, if they have it. (This affidavit should also be on file at the state office.)
If the car is being transferred from an out-of-state seller, a VIN inspection must also be done at any Ohio deputy registrar licensing agency. This comes with an additional fee.
Assuming all of the forms, including the car title and affidavits, are completed when the new owner comes to the Ohio office, a same day title transfer is possible.