How to Transfer a Car Title in Virginia

In some situations, a Virginia car title transfer is necessary. The most common reason for a transfer title request in VA is when a vehicle is sold through a private sale. In addition, when the current registered owner of a vehicle becomes deceased, there are different guidelines (depending on the circumstances) to make the process of transferring car title possession easier during an otherwise difficult time. To learn more about the steps that you must take to handle a car title transfer in VA, continue reading the sections below.

When is it necessary to transfer title documents in Virginia?

One reason a car transfer of title in Virginia takes place in Virginia is due to the sale of a vehicle through private parties. When a vehicle owner plans on selling his or her vehicle to a new owner, a transfer of car title is a crucial step to complete in the process. Without a car title transfer into the new owner’s name, the previous owner remains liable for any issues or mishaps associated with the vehicle. For instance, if a car is stolen and a vehicle title transfer was never issued to the new owner of the car, it may prove to be difficult or confusing for the new owner to handle the process that follows. Subsequently, the previous vehicle owner should make sure to transfer the car title in Virginia so he or she no longer has ties to the vehicle. For example, if the vehicle is involved in criminal activity while under new ownership, and the vehicle title transfer was never complete, the previous owner could be convicted for a crime for which he or she was not involved. Download our comprehensive guide to read more about car title transfer procedures in Virginia.

In addition, the transfer of vehicle title must be completed if a vehicle owner becomes deceased, and another party plans to take ownership of the vehicle. The title transfer must be filed before the DMV will register that vehicle to another driver. The Virginia DMV recognizes the following instances as legitimate reasons to legally transfer title ownership of a vehicle:

  • Joint owner with the right of survivorship
  • Not a joint owner or a joint owner without the right of survivorship
  • Executor or administrator will not be appointed
  • Executor or administrator of the estate has been appointed

Each of these situations has unique requirements for retitling. For all instances of transferring car title ownership in VA, the DMV requires submission in person of all documents.

How to Transfer Car Title Papers in Virginia to a Co-Owner With the Right of Survivorship

The DMV will transfer title in Virginia to a surviving party who is the joint owner or co-owner if the surviving party’s name is on the title and listed as an owner with the deceased with the word “or” between the names. Alternatively, if the words “or survivor” appear after the names, then the surviving party is also considered a joint owner. In this case, the DMV requires the co-owner to pay any remaining liens if the title is held by the bank. The Virginia DMV will register the vehicle in the surviving party’s name and allow a VA car title transfer, issuing a new title, upon receipt of required documents and items.

How do I transfer car title ownership in Virginia to a joint owner without the right of survivorship?

A Virginia transfer of title will not be available if another name does not appear on the title. If another name does appear on the title but the word “and” appears between the listed names or the words “or survivor” does not follow the names, it is a joint owner without the right of survivorship. A co-owner without the right to survivorship is eligible for a replacement car title transfer in VA, but must pay any liens on the vehicle to release the title from the bank. If the title is not found, a replacement title will be issued, with associated DMV fees paid.

Where to Transfer Car Title Control in Virginia With No Executor or Administrator

The DMV will issue a Virginia transfer of title ownership to the heir, spouse or inheritor, due to terms of the will in the case that there is no executor or administrator. The heir will not have to pay the sales and use tax in this situation. To transfer title in VA, the inheritor of the vehicle should bring all of the documents listed to the DMV. Listed documents include: a notarized or certified death certificate, the title for the vehicle, proof of address, and the associated fees, among other items. Download our complimentary guide to review the required items needed to transfer vehicle title paperwork in Virginia.

Virginia Car Title Transfer in Virginia if the Executor or Administrator Has Been Appointed

For a transfer of title in Virginia if an appointed executor or administrator of the estate exists, the administer or the executor must provide a notarized or certified death certificate, the title to the vehicle, the document issued by the court or the will appointing the administrator or executor, proof of address and payment of associated fees. A VA car title transfer in this situation is dependent on the administrator or executor satisfying any liens remaining on the vehicle to release the title from the bank. The “Application for Transfer and Supplemental Liens” (Form VSA 66) must also be submitted.