Last Updated on May 11, 2022 by Fair Punishment Team
As a general rule, you cannot register a car with a title not in your name. This is because the majority of states need to see some proof of ownership during the registration process.
There are, however, several states that do allow you to register a vehicle in your name even if you do not own it.
Power of Attorney documents and similar processes are accepted in some other states if you do not have your name on the car’s title.
With so many different rules from different states, it can be difficult to work out what you can expect, and what you do and don’t need to do.
This quick article will take you through some of the basics of car registration to provide some clarity.
Registering A Vehicle In Someone Else’s Name
So, can someone else register my car in their name? The short answer is yes in most states, but whoever is registering the car will need some key documentation if the title of the car is not in their name.
If you cannot provide the correct documents then you will not be able to register the vehicle if your name is not on the title document.
If you are in a state that does allow re-registration, then you have two main options for registering a car in your name if your name is not on the title of the car.
You can get whoever purchased the car to sign the back of the title document. This will be near the Buyer Signature or Purchaser Signature tab. Most counties will then require you to fill out a form with the signature of the titleholder and the intended registration holder.
You then need to take these completed forms to your local county’s department of motor vehicles office to get the registration put into your name.
Sufficient evidence of a Power of Attorney will also allow you to register a car in someone else’s name. This document may be the only way to register a vehicle in someone else’s name if you do not appear on the title document.
Having a Power of Attorney document for car registration allows the named representative to sign the purchaser’s name for them.
You will need to take this with you but remember that it is a single-use document that cannot be used for anything other than registration of someone else’s vehicle.
There are some important documents that you need to take with you to the motor vehicles office when you register the vehicle in your name.
You will need the vehicle title document with the purchaser’s signature and your name on it. You will also need to show the clerk your driver’s license, proof of insurance, and the registration form you have filled out.
If the vehicle has recently been purchased then you will likely need to show the bill of sale and proof of a tax payment.
A couple of states mandate a safety and emission inspection before registration. The rules do differ from state to state so check what is needed to make sure you have all the documentation you need.
Name Limits For Registration
It is fairly standard for a state to allow a few names to be listed for the vehicle’s registration. It may even be possible for a married couple to be combined to fill out one entry which allows a lienholder to be registered.
A lienholder concerning car registration will be the bank or financier who loaned you the money to purchase the vehicle in question.
Their name needs to be on the registration form so that they can take the car back should you fail to abide by the terms of your contract at the point of sale.
Name Changes And Vehicle Registration
If you change your name you will need to correct this for your vehicle registration so that the names match.
You need to make sure that you have proof from the Social Security Administration that you have changed your name.
Providing you have this information you can then proceed to your state’s department of motor vehicles to get it changed on the registration. Keep in mind that it may be easier to get your name changed on the title first.
Removing Names On Vehicle Registration
The easiest way to take a name off a vehicle’s registration is to first remove it from the vehicle’s title document. Once you have done this, you simply need a new registration form from your state’s motor vehicle department that stipulates the new registration information.
Keep in mind that you may also need to supply some of the supporting documentation you submitted when you first registered the vehicle. Again, do check your state’s rules to be certain.
Removing A Bank From Vehicle Registration
The lienholder – in this example the bank – will have their details on the vehicle’s registration until you have paid off any loans you took out to purchase the vehicle.
Their ownership will be signed over to you by taking themselves off the title. This will then allow you to quickly and easily update the registration information.
You can expect to pay some fees when you are changing the name on a vehicle’s registration.
You may find that your state will waive fees in some circumstances but this is likely to only be the case if the registration is changing because of a name change.
If the registration needs to be changed because the title or ownership of the vehicle has changed, you can expect to pay at the very least some administrative charges.
Depending on your state, you can register your vehicle in a different name. Most states require that the registered names are the same as the titleholder, but there are some exceptions such as where there is a Power of Attorney document.
You may find that there are only two spaces for registered owners to be documented. If you are married, you and your spouse can be combined into one owner to save space for a lienholder if necessary.
The bank, financier, or other type of lienholder will be removed from the vehicle’s title once you have fulfilled the terms of your loan.
This may be done automatically but you may find that you must change the registration yourself.