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A certificate of title issued by the state of New Jersey 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. In New Jersey, a title must be transferred within 10 working days from the date of sale.
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 How to Get a Vehicle Title page on the Motor Vehicle Commission (MVC) 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 the Motor Vehicle Commission (MVC):
- The current title, with the assignment completed by the seller or donor (signing the title over to you). The title must include the federal odometer disclosure, if the vehicle is less than ten years old.
- A completed Application for Certificate of Ownership.
- Proof of liability insurance coverage.
Along with the appropriate transfer of title documents above, you will need to submit the following fees:
- $20 title transfer fee
- $20 lien fees for every lien on the vehicle.
- 7% sales tax on purchase price unless it is an exempt vehicle.
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 title needs to be transferred within 30 days of the date of death. 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).
In some cases, the heirs may need to complete a notarized Affidavit and provide copies of both the death certificate and the will (or a notarized statement of its contents), if there is one.
For more information on title transfers following the death of a vehicle owner, refer to the New Jersey MVC website or contact the local MVC Office.
Appropriate title transfer documents and fees should be submitted to the local MVC Office.
- Contact the local Motor Vehicle Commision 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 registration information.