Last Updated on January 21, 2023 by Bernard Juchli
After transferring my car ownership to my cousin a few days ago, I can authoritatively tell you the process I used to transfer ownership of a car to a family member in NY. How to transfer ownership of a car to a family member in NY? Of course, this involves a straightforward process you can complete in a day if you have the necessary paperwork.
For the spouse or guardian to give the car to someone else, they must fill out an Affidavit for Transfer of Motor Vehicle (PDF) (MV 349.1). A notary must sign the form. A copy of the death certificate or certification of death is also given to the new owner by the spouse or guardian.
To simplify it, here are some detailed steps to guide you through the process more effectively to avoid complications.
How to transfer ownership of a car to a family member in NY
This section explains the steps and things to note when transferring ownership of a car to your family member in NY:
Prepare your paperwork
The first step to transfer ownership of a car to a family member in NY is that you require acceptable proof of ownership; this includes the car title, bill of sale, a valid photo ID, and disclosure statements.
If the car has out-of-state ownership, ensure to have the original acceptable proof of ownership from that state such as the title. However, if there is a lien put on the title, NY DMV will accept an electronic title printout from the DMV.
If the model year of the car is 1972 or older, you need an original copy of NY State Transferable Registration or any acceptable proof of ownership (for out-of-state cars).
Prepare the title certificate.
The second step if you want to transfer ownership of a car to a family member in NY is to understand that you cannot use the title certificate you obtained from the previous owner. This means that the title must be registered in your name before you can transfer the ownership to your family member. If you attempt this, the title will become open, which is illegal.
If the original title certificate is lost, stolen, or damaged, obtain a replacement NY title.
If the car’s model year exceeds 2011 and is 20 model years old or newer, you must complete the Odometer Disclosure Statement on the back of your title.
You must also make the Damage Disclosure Statement on the back of the title (for NY title certificates), irrespective of the age of your car.
Write a bill of sale.
You must write and sign a vehicle bill of sale (MV-912). If the car is a gift to your family member, sign Section 6 on Page 2 of a Statement of Transaction- Sale or Gift of Motor Vehicle form.
Generally, your NY bill of sale must contain the following information:
- Vehicle year and make
- Vehicle identification number (VIN)
- Date of the sale
- Purchase price of the vehicle
- Names and signatures of the buyer and the seller
For a car model older than 1972, you can use the transferable registration and a bill of sale.
Moreover, the family member you are transferring ownership to can make photocopies of the bill of sale for their records. This is part of the process if you want to transfer ownership of a car to a family member in NY.
Transfer the ownership
Sign and write your name and the buyer’s name on the transfer section of the title. If another name is on the title apart from yours, the person must also sign and write their name. If more than one family member receives the ownership, they must sign and write their name.
If the car title is out-of-state for states such as Alaska, Arizona, Hawaii, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Montana, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Washington, Wyoming, or Puerto Rico, it must be notarized. The notarization must be done in the presence of the notary.
If the car’s model year is 1972 or older, mark the registration document “transferable” on the front. You must also sign the back of it.
Transferring ownership to a family member as a dealer in NY
If you are a dealer transferring car ownership to a family member, you must have acceptable proof of ownership such as a title certificate. You can send the title to the DMV but you can be charged a fee of $175 for the service.
Suppose you are transferring ownership of a new car to a family member. In that case, your proof of ownership can be the Manufacturer’s Certificate of Origin (MCO), Manufacturer’s Statement of Origin (MSO), and Retail Certificate of Sale (MV-50).
If you are transferring the ownership of a used car to a family member, you need the signed title certificate or the ‘Retail Certificate of Sale (MV-50).
Transferring car ownership of a deceased to a family member in NY
Surviving spouse. A surviving spouse automatically assumes ownership of the deceased’s car in New York. For a surviving spouse to transfer ownership of the car to a family member, they have to print the decedent’s name under the “Seller’s Name” section on the back of the title certificate and sign their name in the “Seller’s Signature” section followed by writing the words “as surviving spouse.”
Guardian. If there is no surviving spouse, the car ownership is automatically transferred to the surviving children under 21. If there is a guardian for the children, the guardian signs the title and indicates their relationship to the deceased car owner. Thus, under the signature, a guardian writes “guardian of (the name and the relationship of the deceased’s child)”. For example, “John Doe, guardian of Kate Jack, daughter.”
The spouse or guardian must complete and notarize an Affidavit for Transfer of Motor Vehicle (form MV 349.1). The family member receiving the car’s owner will also get a copy of the deceased’s death certificate. The receiving family member must submit the form MV-349.1 and a copy of the death certificate to register the car in their name.
The administrator/executor of the Estate. Suppose the administrator transfers the car ownership to another family member. In that case, they cannot use the Transfer of Vehicle Registered in the name of Deceased Person (form MV-349) or an Affidavit for Transfer of Motor Vehicle (form MV-349.1) to transfer ownership of the car to another family member.
Instead, the administrator or executor must submit the following:
- A copy of Letters of Testamentary
- Letters of Administration or Voluntary Administrator’s affidavit from the Surrogate Court
- Title certificate (signed by any person given the legal authority)
The administrator will sign the title certificate and write “Executor of the Estate ” (the deceased owner’s name). For example, “Executor of the Estate of Peter Doe”.
Transferring car ownership as a gift to a family member
In New York, if you transfer car ownership as a gift to a family member, indicate “gift” on the bill of sale and the purchase price must be $0. You will also complete a Statement of Transaction (DTF-802) and indicate “gift” on the form.
Can I transfer the title online in NY?
You cannot transfer a car title online in NY. However, you can register the car at your local New York DMV office or by mail.
The information on your title certificate must not be altered, erased or changed. If your title certificate is damaged, the NY DMV will reject it. You can obtain a replacement title before you transfer the car ownership to your family member.
After you transfer ownership of a car to a family member in NY, the new owner must visit the NY DMV with the title certificate or any acceptable proof of ownership and a bill of sale to put the car in their name. The New York DMV will not accept a bill of sale only.
If there are other documents involved such as the death certificate (where the owner is deceased) or an affidavit, the family member must go with a copy each to the nearest NY DMV.