Does a Car Title Need to Be Notarized?
Last Updated on September 1, 2022
A car title proves ownership of a vehicle.
Depending on your situation, you may need to notarize your car title. Many states require you to notarize a car title when transferring a title, for example.
Keep reading to discover everything you need to know about car titles and notarization requirements.
Table of Contents:
- What Is a Car Title?
- Do Car Titles Need to Be Notarized?
- How to Notarize a Car Title
- Cost of Notarizing a Car Title
- FAQs About Car Title Notarization
What Is a Car Title?
A car title is a document proving ownership of your vehicle. When you buy a vehicle, you receive the title of that vehicle.
Not to be confused with a car’s registration, a car title features your name and information about the vehicle. It demonstrates you are the rightful owner of a specific vehicle.
You may need to present the car title if there is a dispute about who owns the vehicle. You may also need to sign a car title to a new owner when buying or selling a vehicle.
Do Car Titles Need to Be Notarized?
Car titles generally need to be notarized when transferring ownership to someone else. If a car title isn’t notarized, then it’s not legally binding.
However, you may not technically need to notarize your car title. Most states do not require car title notarization, although some states require notarization in specific situations – like when selling or buying a vehicle.
For a car title to be notarized, you need to sign the title in the presence of a notary public. The notary public verifies your identity, ensures you understand the implications of signing the document, and approves the signed title to complete the notarization process.
Once a car title has been notarized, it demonstrates your car title is true and valid.
In situations where multiple people own a vehicle – like if two spouses or a parent and child own a vehicle – all individuals must sign the car title in front of the notary. Otherwise, the car title is not valid.
How to Notarize a Car Title
You notarize a car title by visiting a notary public. You physically meet with a notary public, and the notary public completes certain verification requirements before notarizing the title.
The best places to find a notary public include:
- A bank
- A local post office
- A law firm
Most of these locations are only open during normal business hours. You may need to plan around these hours.
Alternatively, some online services let you access a notary public via videoconferencing technology. You sign up for the online service, schedule a meeting with a notary public, and complete a similar process to a physical notary public meeting.
After you find a notary public near you, the notary public will take the following steps to notarize your car title:
- The notary public will verify your identity to confirm you are who you claim to be
- The notary public explains the importance of the document to ensure you understand what your signature means
- The notary public notarizes the title, which makes it official
The process should only take a few minutes to complete. Notary publics regularly notarize car titles, and they’ll be familiar with the car title notarization process and how it works.
Cost of Notarizing a Car Title
Some notary publics offer their services at no added cost to you. Some banks, for example, allow customers to access notary public services at no added cost.
Generally, however, it costs $10 to $75 to notarize a car title with a physical or virtual notary public in the United States.
Check notary publics in your area or review online notary public services to verify you’re paying a fair price for your car title notarization.
FAQs About Car Title Notarization
We get plenty of questions about car title notarization and how it works. Here are some of our answers to our most frequently asked questions.
Q: Do I need to notarize my car title before driving away with my new vehicle?
A: You do not typically need to notarize a car title before driving away with it (say, after buying it from a dealership or a private seller). However, you need to notarize the car title to make it a legally binding document. Consider notarizing your document as quickly as possible.
Q: How do I notarize a car title?
A: You notarize a car title by visiting a notary public in-person or online. A notary public confirms your identity and ensures you understand the importance of the document; then, the notary public notarizes your car title to make it a legal document.
Q: How long does car title notarization take?
A: The actual notarization process is complete within minutes. However, finding a notary public with an available time slot in your local area may take time, and you may need to wait.
Q: Do I need to notarize my car title when transferring ownership to someone else?
A: Some states require the car title to be notarized when transferring ownership to someone else, while other states do not. Generally, you do not need to notarize a car title when transferring ownership, although the new owner may want to notarize the title to ensure it’s legally binding.
Q: How do I transfer a vehicle title?
A: To perform a title transfer, you must complete the information on the back of the original title, and you may need to notarize the title to ensure the transfer is legally binding. A title transfer typically requires the buyer and recipient’s name and address, the date of sale or date of delivery, the seller’s signature and hand-printed name, the odometer reading (if necessary), and a damage disclosure statement. If you cannot find your title or need a duplicate, you can request one from your state’s DMV.
Final Word on Notarizing Car Titles
A car title should be notarized when selling the vehicle to someone else or when buying the vehicle from a third party. However, you do not technically need to notarize your car title in most states.
For your car title to be legally binding, it needs to be notarized. A notary public can notarize the car title after verifying your identity.
Some states require you to notarize a car title before selling a vehicle, while others do not.
To determine if you need to notarize your car title, check car title notarization requirements in your state.