A certificate of title issued by the state of Kentucky is a document that proves legal ownership of a vehicle. A title must be obtained when an individual purchases a new vehicle. A title transfer must also be completed when a used vehicle is sold or gifted, or when a vehicle changes hands as a result of the death of the vehicle's owner.
OBTAINING A TITLE FOR A NEW VEHICLE:
For new vehicles, the licensed dealer that sold the vehicle typically will accept and submit the required titling information and fees on behalf of the buyer. However, buyers wishing to handle the titling independently can do so. Those interested in applying for a new title without the dealer's assistance should refer to the Frequently Asked Questions on the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet website.
TRANSFERRING A TITLE ON A USED VEHICLE:
Sale/Purchase or Gift of a Used Vehicle
When you purchase a used vehicle, or obtain one as a gift, the title must be legally transferred into your name. This is done by obtaining the following documents, and submitting them along with the appropriate fees to your County Clerk's office:
- The current title, with the assignment completed by the seller or donor (signing the title over to you).
- If the title does not indicate the date of sale and selling price, a completed Bill of Sale signed by both current and new owner and notarized, is required.
- Photo identification.
- Proof of liability insurance coverage, unless the vehicle was purchased from a dealer.
- A completed Application for Certificate of Title.
Along with the appropriate transfer of title documents above, you will need to submit the following fees:
- $6 title fees.
- $25 speed title fees for overnight processing if necessary.
- Usage tax of 6% of purchase price or value.
- Property tax, if applicable.
The correct amount can be calculated while applying at the local County Clerk's office
Transfer of Title Following Death of Vehicle Owner
In the event of the death of the vehicle owner, the title is often transferred to the heirs or someone else identified in the owner's will. The procedures and fees for this type of transfer are similar to those outlined above. In addition, it is important to determine how the estate of the deceased has been settled by the heir(s).
For more information on title transfers following the death of a vehicle owner, refer to the 98 RS HB 314/GA document
or contact the local County Clerk's office
Appropriate title transfer documents and fees should be submitted to the local County Clerk's office.
- Contact the local County Clerk's office if you wish to add, remove or change a name on a vehicle title for reason other than those discussed above.
- If there is an existing lien on the vehicle, there will be additional requirements for transferring the title.
- A valid title provides proof of ownership of the vehicle. However, remember that a title transfer does not entitle the new owner(s) to legally operate the vehicle. For this, refer to the appropriate license and registration information.