How to Transfer Car Titles to a Surviving Joint Owner

Joint Car Title? In this post, Jenna tells us the best way to transfer a car to the surviving owner.
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How to Transfer Car Titles to a Surviving Joint Owner

Jenna Mendelsohn
If there are two names on the Certificate of Title, make sure to follow these specific steps to transfer title properly.
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If a Certificate of Title has a joint owner (usually the spouse or a child) and he or she chooses to keep the vehicle, he/she must take proper steps to transfer the Title.

For instance, in Maryland, he/she must complete the Assignment of Ownership section and the Application for Title Registration section on the original Title document. The good news is that in a state like Maryland, you can go to a “Tag & Title” office instead of the Motor Vehicles Association (i.e. the MVA, Maryland’s version of the DMV).

This item is on the underside of the Certificate of Title for each vehicle. It should be completed as follows:

Here is an example, for illustration purposes, of the specific way you must complete the back of the Title form to effectuate a transfer to a surviving joint owner.


If there is a loan for the car, be sure to complete the Lien Information section on the reverse side of the Certificate of Title document. If no loan exists for the vehicle, in the lien information section, write “none.”

If the vehicle is staying among the surviving spouse or children, the existing vehicle tags are transferable. However, if the vehicle will transfer outside of the family, new registration tags and safety inspection is needed.

If you are the surviving owner, to avoid several trips to the Motor Vehicle Association (or Tag & Title), be sure to have all the required documents available:

  1. The original Certificate of Title completed as described above.
  2. An original or certified copy of the death certificate (unless you already received correspondence from the MVA regarding the death).
  3. Copy of the Registration card.
  4. Car insurance policy card.
  5. Your driver’s license.  

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