Transfer ownership and acceptable proofs of ownership

Find acceptable proof of ownership and instructions to transfer ownership for

Cars, Trucks, and Motorcycles

Model year 1973 or newer

The acceptable proof of ownership is either

  • the original New York State Certificate of Title – must be the original 1

or

  • other original acceptable proof of ownership from another state 2 
    • if the state does not provide a title document because there is a lien on the vehicle, an electronic title printout from the DMV is acceptable

To transfer ownership

  • the seller whose name appears on the proof of ownership must record the name of the buyer and sign the transfer section of the proof of ownership
    • the transfer section must be notarized if the proof of ownership is a Certificate of Title from Arizona, Kentucky, Louisiana, Montana, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Washington, or Wyoming
  • the seller must sign a Vehicle Bill of Sale (pdf) (MV-912)

Additionally

  • if the vehicle is 10 model years old or newer, the seller must complete the Odometer Disclosure Statement on the back of the title certificate
  • the Damage Disclosure Statement on the back of the New York State Certificate of  Title must be completed for all vehicles regardless of the vehicle's age
  • make sure that the information listed on the title certificate is not altered, erased or changed 3

 

Model year 1972 or older

The acceptable proof of ownership is either

  • a NY State Transferable Registration – must be the original or a certified copy, not a photocopy 
  • acceptable proof from another state 4

To transfer ownership

  • the owner can use the transferable registration and a bill of sale
  • make sure the registration document is marked "transferable" on the front
  • the seller whose name appears on the transferable registration must sign the back

 

Manufactured homes

Model year 1995 and newer the acceptable proof of ownership can be

  • a Certificate of Title
  • acceptable proof of ownership from any other state 5
  • the Manufacturer's Certificate of Origin (MCO)
  • the Manufacturer's Statement of Origin (MSO)

If you purchase a new manufactured home from a dealer, the proof of ownership can be either

  • the Manufacturer's Certificate of Origin (MCO)
  • the Manufacturer's Statement of Origin (MSO), transferred by the dealer to the purchaser

along with

To transfer ownership

  • the seller whose name appears on the proof of ownership must sign the transfer section and provide a bill of sale
  • if the seller has a title certificate that was transferred to them by another person, the seller cannot use that title certificate to transfer the ownership
  • the buyer's name must be on the title certificate
  • make sure that the information listed on the title certificate is not altered, erased or changed 6

 

Motorized boats

Model year 1987 or newer, and at least 14 ft. long

The acceptable proof of ownership is either

  • the NY State Certificate of Title – must be the original or a certified copy, not a photocopy 7
  • acceptable proof of ownership from another state 8

To transfer ownership

  • the seller whose name appears on the proof of ownership must sign the transfer section and provide a bill of sale
  • if the seller has a title certificate that was transferred to them by another person, the seller cannot use that title certificate to transfer the ownership to you
  • the buyer's name must be on the title certificate
  • make sure that the information listed on the title certificate is not altered, erased or changed 9


Model year 1986 or older or any NY State-registered boat that is less than 14 ft. long

The acceptable proof of ownership is either

  • the NY State Transferable Registration - must be the original or a certified copy, not a photocopy
  • acceptable proof of ownership from another state 10

To transfer ownership

  • the owner can use the transferable registration and a bill of sale
  • make sure the registration document is marked "transferable" on the front
  • the seller whose name appears on the transferable registration must sign the back

 

Trailers

Model year 1973 or newer with an unladen weight of 1,000 lbs. or more

The acceptable proof of ownership is either

  • the NY State Certificate of Title – must be the original or a certified copy, not a photocopy 11
  • acceptable proof of ownership from another state 12

To transfer ownership

  • the seller whose name appears on the proof of ownership must sign the transfer section and provide a bill of sale
  • if the seller has a title certificate that was transferred to them by another person, the seller cannot use that title certificate to transfer the ownership
  • your name must appear on the title certificate as the buyer
  • make sure that the information listed on the title certificate is not altered, erased or changed 13


Model year 1972 or older, or ANY model year trailer with an unladen weight of 999 lbs. or less

The acceptable proof of ownership is either

  • the NY State Transferable Registration - must be the original or a certified copy, not a photocopy
  • acceptable proof of ownership from another state 14

To transfer ownership

  • the owner can use the transferable registration and a bill of sale 
  • make sure the registration document is marked "transferable" on the front
  • the seller whose name appears on the transferable registration must sign the back

All-Terrain Vehicles (ATVs)

For a new ATV, the acceptable proof of ownership is either 

  • the Manufacturer's Certificate of Origin (MCO)
  • the Manufacturer's Statement of Origin (MSO)

For a used ATV where the prior registration was not in New York State, acceptable proof is either

  • the Manufacturer's Certificate of Origin (MCO)
  • the Manufacturer's Statement of Origin (MSO)

along with

For a used ATV where the prior registration was in New York State, acceptable proof is either

  • a NY State transferable registration - must be the original or a certified copy, not a photocopy
  • acceptable proof of ownership from another state

To transfer ownership

  • the owner can use the transferable registration
  • make sure the registration document is marked "transferable" on the front
  • the seller whose name appears on the registration must sign the back and provide a bill of sale

 

Purchased from a registered dealer

You must get a dealer's bill of sale. An acceptable bill of sale includes all of this information

  • the name, mailing address, and registration number of the dealer
  • your name and your mailing address
  • the vehicle identification number of the ATV
  • the year and make of the ATV
  • the model name and the number of wheels on the ATV
  • the information that indicates if the ATV is new or used
  • the information that proves that the dealer collected the correct amount of NY State sales tax

If the ATV was never registered or the proofs of ownership are not available, complete an Affidavit (Statement) of Ownership (pdf) (MV-51B), and get a bill of sale from the current owner.

 

Snowmobiles

Purchased from a dealer

The acceptable proof of ownership can be 

  • the Manufacturer's Certificate of Origin
  • the Manufacturer's Statement of Origin
  • the registration of the previous owner that is signed and transferred to the dealer
  • a dealer's bill of sale on company letterhead


Previously registered in New York and purchased from an individual

The acceptable proof of ownership is a snowmobile bill of sale and a New York State registration. The person whose name appears on the proof of ownership must sign the transfer section.

An acceptable snowmobile bill of sale includes all of this information

  • buyer and seller names and mailing addresses
  • the year and make of the snowmobile
  • the model name, model number, color, and CC/HP of the snowmobile
  • the snowmobile identification number
  • the purchase price
  • the signature of the seller


Never registered and purchased from an individual

The acceptable proof of ownership can be

  • the Manufacturer's Certificate of Origin or Manufacturer's Statement of Origin
  • the dealer's bill of sale given to the original owner
  • the sales tax receipts from all other transfers
  • a snowmobile bill of sale (as described above)

 

Vehicles purchased from dealers

A DMV-licensed automobile dealer must have acceptable proof of ownership for a vehicle before they can sell that vehicle to you. Most NY State automobile dealers send the application for a vehicle registration and title certificate to the DMV. The dealer can charge a fee of $75 for this service.

The proof of ownership for a new vehicle is either

  • the Manufacturer's Certificate of Origin (MCO)
  • the Manufacturer's Statement of Origin (MSO) and form MV-50 (Retail Certificate of Sale)

The proof of ownership for a used vehicle is both

  • the title certificate that the previous owner signed to transfer the ownership to the dealer
  • 'Retail Certificate of Sale' (MV-50) that the dealer signs to transfer ownership to you (out-of-state dealers use a different bill of sale form)

If you cannot get acceptable proof of ownership from a NY State dealer, learn how to file a complaint.

 

Vehicles purchased or received as a gift from another person

If you buy a vehicle, a boat, an ATV, or a snowmobile from another person who is not a DMV-licensed automobile dealer or receive it as a gift, make sure that you receive acceptable proof of ownership. 

Proof of ownership normally includes a bill of sale. The DMV does not provide a form for a bill of sale. The seller and the buyer complete the bill of sale. If the vehicle is transferred as a gift, indicate this on the bill of sale and indicate that the purchase price is $0. You must also complete a Statement of Transaction- Sale or Gift of Motor Vehicle, Trailer, All-Terrain Vehicle (ATV), Vessel (Boat), or Snowmobile (pdf)  (at NY State Department of Tax and Finance) (DTF-802) and indicate on the form that the vehicle is a gift.

An acceptable bill of sale includes all of this information

  • the year and make of the vehicle, boat or ATV
  • the vehicle identification number (VIN) or the hull identification number (HIN)
  • the date of the sale
  • the purchase price of the vehicle or the boat
  • the names and signatures of the buyer and the seller

The buyer and seller can make photocopies of the bill of sale to keep for their records. The new owner must go to the DMV with the acceptable proof of ownership and a bill of sale. A bill of sale alone is not acceptable as proof of ownership without a title or transferable registration

 

Deceased owner (motor vehicles only)

Use this checklist to help you transfer the ownership when the vehicle owner is deceased (pdf) (MV-843). 

For transfers made by the surviving spouse 'According to the Estates, Powers & Trust Law of New York State,' the owner of one vehicle that has a value of $25,000 or less automatically transfers to the surviving spouse. If the surviving spouse wishes to transfer ownership, they must print the decedent’s name in the “Seller’s Name (Print in Full)” section on the back of the Title and sign their name in the “Seller’s Signature” Section followed by the words “as surviving Spouse”.

The ownership of one vehicle that has a value of $25,000 or less transfers to the surviving children under the age of 21 if there is no surviving spouse or the spouse is disqualified. The spouse or the legal guardian of one of the children must sign the title certificate. When the spouse or the guardian signs the title certificate, they must indicate the relationship to the deceased owner. A spouse writes the word "spouse" under the signature. A guardian writes "guardian of", and the name and the relationship of the child to the deceased owner (for example, "Charles Edwards, guardian of John Smith, son").

To transfer ownership of the vehicle to another person, the spouse or guardian must complete an Affidavit for Transfer of Motor Vehicle (pdf) (MV 349.1). The form must be notarized. The spouse or guardian also gives the new owner a photocopy of the death certificate or certification of death. The DMV accepts a photocopy of the death certificate or certification of death. When the new owner applies for a vehicle registration or a title certificate, they must provide form MV-349.1 and the copy of the death certificate or certification of death.

For transfers made by the Executor or Administrator of the Estate: If there is more than one vehicle or there is one vehicle that has a value of more than $25,000, the vehicle or vehicles become part of the estate. You cannot use the Transfer of Vehicle Registered in Name of Deceased Person (pdf) (MV-349) or an Affidavit for Transfer of Motor Vehicle (pdf) (MV-349.1) to transfer the ownership

A copy of Letters of Testamentary, Letters of Administration, or Voluntary Administrator’s affidavit from the Surrogate Court MUST be submitted together with the decedent’s title transferred by the person given legal authority in the documents to sign. The Executor or Administrator of the estate must transfer the ownership by signing the title certificate. Under the signature of the Executor or Administrator, write:  Executor (or Administrator) of the Estate of, and then enter the name of the deceased owner.  For example:  "Executor of the Estate of Mary Ann Smith".



Deceased owner (Manufactured Homes, Snowmobiles, Boats, Trailers and All Terrain Vehicles)

If the owner is deceased, the Estates, Powers & Trust Law of New York State provides for the transfer of the Manufactured Home, Snowmobile, Boat, Trailer or All Terrain Vehicle only through the property distributions of an estate set up by order of a Surrogate Court.  A Surviving Spouse, minor child(ren) or next of kin CANNOT automatically assume ownership.  Therefore, a Transfer of Vehicle Registered in Name of Deceased Person (pdf) (MV-349) or an Affidavit for Transfer of Motor Vehicle (pdf) (MV-349.1) cannot be used to transfer a manufactured home. 

A copy of Letters of Testamentary, Letters of Administration, or Voluntary Administrator’s affidavit from the Surrogate Court MUST be submitted together with the decedent’s title transferred by the person given legal authority in the documents to sign. The Executor or Administrator of the estate must transfer the ownership by signing the title certificate. Under the signature of the Executor or Administrator, write:  Executor (or Administrator) of the Estate of, and then enter the name of the deceased owner.  For example:  "Executor of the Estate of Mary Ann Smith".

 

Vehicles to a revocable living trust

The person who creates a trust is the settlor. The owner of the vehicle and the settlor of the trust can be the same person. The person or the persons who manage the property of the trust are the trustee or the trustees. The settlor can be a trustee, but the settlor cannot be the only trustee.

The document that creates the trust is the trust document.

When a person transfers a vehicle to a revocable  living trust, the settlor becomes the new owner of the vehicle.

How to Transfer the Vehicle to the Settlor (the Trust)

The owner and the settlor must complete Statement of Transaction- Sale or Gift of Motor Vehicle, Trailer, All-Terrain Vehicle (ATV), Vessel (Boat), or Snowmobile (pdf)  (at NY State Department of Tax and Finance) (DTF-802). If the owner and the settlor are the same person, complete Part II of form DTF-802 for a gift. Complete the donor section and the recipient section.

The person who is the owner of the vehicle must complete the seller sections on the back of the certificate. The owner must sign the title certificate as the seller.

The settlor must complete the odometer and damage disclosure statement on the back of the title certificate. The settlor must sign their full name in the buyer section of the title certificate and print the word "settlor" after their name.

The settlor must get new insurance identification cards from an insurance agent or insurance company. The insurance identification cards must identify the trust with the letters "TST" and identify the settlor with the letters "STL". For example:

"John Jones TST"
"John Jones STL"

How the Settlor Applies for a Registration and a Title Certificate

The settlor cannot use the registration or vehicle plates of the previous owner. The settlor must apply for a new title certificate and a new vehicle registration. The DMV issues new registration documents, new vehicle plates and a new title certificate to the settlor. The previous owner must transfer or surrender the previous vehicle plates.

To apply for the new registration and title certificate, the settlor must bring to a DMV office:

 

More information 

Read the DMV brochures, Let the Buyer Be Aware, and Q&A About Your Title Certificate.

 

  • 1. We will not accept certified copies. If the original title was lost or stolen, or if you have satisfied a lien on the title you must order a replacement title
  • 2. We will not accept certified copies.
  • 3. If any information is altered, erased or changed, the current owner must get a duplicate title certificate and use the duplicate to transfer the ownership to you.
  • 4. Different states issue different documents for ownership and transfer of older vehicles. Make sure that is the acceptable proof of ownership in the state that issued the document.
  • 5. Different states issue different documents for ownership. Make sure that an out-of-state document is the acceptable proof in the DMV in the state that issued the document.
  • 6. If any information is altered, erased or changed, the current owner must get a duplicate title certificate and use the duplicate to transfer the ownership.  
  • 7. If the original title was lost or stolen, or if you have satisfied a lien on the title you must order a replacement title.  
  • 8. If the boat is registered in another state, contact that state to make sure that the proof of ownership you receive is acceptable for that state.
  • 9. If any information is altered, erased or changed, the current owner must get a duplicate title certificate and use the duplicate to transfer the ownership.    
  • 10. If the boat is registered in another state, contact that state to make sure that the proof of ownership is acceptable that state.
  • 11. If the original title was lost or stolen, or if you have satisfied a lien on the title you must order a replacement title.
  • 12. If the trailer is registered in another state, contact that state to make sure that the proof of ownership is acceptable for that state.
  • 13. If any information is altered, erased or changed, the current owner must get a duplicate title certificate and use the duplicate to transfer the ownership.      
  • 14. If the trailer is registered in another state, contact that state to make sure that the proof of ownership is acceptable for that state.