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How to Transfer a Car Title in New Jersey

A New Jersey MVC title transfer must be performed after the purchase of a vehicle, sale of a vehicle, the passing of a vehicle’s owner and after undergoing a legal name change. Each of these title transfer processes are widely different, especially when it comes to the passing of a vehicle’s owner as there are a number of steps that may need to be completed, depending on whether or not the owner left behind a will, who is transferring the vehicle and whether or not the vehicle is being transferred to the estate.

In addition to the title transfer cost, there are a number of documents that must be prevented for each type of transfer, making it imperative that you know what to expect during your visit in order to avoid a second trip to the New Jersey MVC. Lastly, transfers that are requested due to a change in a legal name have additional steps that must be completed prior to visiting the MVC. To learn more about the various types of vehicle transfers, review the sections that have been provided below.

Performing a NJ Car Title Transfer After Purchasing or Selling a Vehicle

One of the most common reasons for an auto title transfer is when purchasing or selling a vehicle. Generally, New Jersey dealerships handle titling paperwork as part of a sale, but if you sell a vehicle to a private buyer or you purchase a vehicle from a private seller, you will have to perform a transfer. This form of car transfer is simple, but it is important to be aware of the steps in doing so in order to complete the sale of purchase of a vehicle.

If you are selling your vehicle to a private buyer, it is important that you remove your license plates before completing the sale of your vehicle. These plates must then either be surrendered to the New Jersey motor vehicle agency or transferred to another vehicle that is in your name. In order for a buyer to perform the MVC title transfer, you are required to sign the seller’s section of the vehicle title, found on the reverse side. Additionally, you must provide the buyer with a bill of sale that includes:

  • The buyer’s name and address
  • The date of the sale
  • The sale price of the vehicle
  • The current mileage odometer reading

If the mileage odometer reading of the vehicle is inaccurate, you are required to provide an estimate of what the actual reading may be. It is very important that you provide accurate information for odometer readings as readings will show whether or not a vehicle has passed its mechanical limitations. If the vehicle is a gift, it is important that you indicate on the price line of the title that the vehicle is being gifted. This will ensure that the new owner need not pay sales tax on the vehicle.

In order to complete a title transfer as the buyer of a used vehicle, you must complete the buyer’s section found on the reverse side of the title, including listing your driver’s license number. From there, you must bring the title to a New Jersey motor vehicle agency in order to complete a Vehicle Registration Application. You will be given a new title along with new license plates. In order to avoid late penalties, you must complete the transfer within 10 business days from the date of sale listed on the reverse side of the vehicle’s title.

Performing a Vehicle Title Transfer Upon the Death of an Owner in New Jersey

Depending on the circumstances, an MVC title transfer following the death of a vehicle’s owner can be handled in a number of ways. Generally, vehicles can still be operated by descendants and spouses for 30 days beyond the death of an owner before the state of New Jersey requires that a transfer be performed. If both a husband and wife’s name were listed on the title, the living spouse can submit the old title along with a copy of a death certificate in order to obtain a new title for the vehicle.

If the title transfer will be transferring ownership to the estate, descendants or surviving spouses must apply for an Entity Identification Number (EIN). Then, visit a motor vehicle agency with the EIN, previous title, Surrogate’s Short Certificate and proof of identification.

If the owner of a vehicle dies without leaving a will, either the surviving spouse, domestic partner, civil union partner or heirs may perform the transfer. An heir can perform a car title transfer by presenting the previous title along with an Affidavit of Next of Kin.

How to Change the Name on a Car Title in New Jersey

It is important perform a car title name change at your local New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission (MVC) after the change of your legal name. This is an important process that can only be done in person as name changes cannot be requested online or by mail. This is due to the fact that, when making your request, you must be able to show legal proof of your name change. This can be done with a number of documents, but commonly accepted documentation includes:

  • Divorce decree
  • Court order
  • Certified marriage certificate
  • Adoption paperwork

Before visiting the NJ MVC, it is important that you first notify the Social Security Administration of this change and wait up to 48 hours for the SSA to update their database.