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How to Transfer a Car Title in Missouri

How to Transfer a Car Title in Missouri

The state of Missouri requires that every vehicle have a title in the name of the owner, or owners to prove ownership. When ownership changes, the title has to be transferred from the previous owner’s name into the name of the new owner. Transfers also happen when a vehicle is gifted, inherited, or donated, and you’ll also need to complete the process if there is a name change. If you’re wondering how to transfer a car title in Missouri, the following guide will help.

If you’re buying a car in Missouri

Anytime you buy a car, the title has to be put into your name. If you’re going through a dealership, they’ll do it for you, but if you’re buying from a private seller, you’re on your own. Follow these steps:

  • Make sure that the seller has completed the fields on the back of the title.
  • Complete an Application for Missouri Title and License. If you’ll be registering the car when you transfer the title, make sure to mark the box that says “new plates”. However, if you will not be registering it, mark “title only”.
  • Make sure to get a lien release from the seller. This should be notarized.
  • Get insurance on the car and provide proof of coverage.
  • Have the vehicle inspected (safety and/or emissions) and provide a copy of the certificate.
  • If the car is less than 10 years old, you’ll need an Odometer Disclosure Statement.
  • Take all of this information and money to cover the title transfer fee and registration to the DMV office. Title transfer fees are $11. There is also a 4.225% state tax. If you miss the 30-day window, you’ll pay another $25 (up to $200, as the $25 is assessed daily).

Common mistakes

  • Not getting a notarized lien release from the seller

If you’re selling a car in Missouri

Sellers, like buyers, must complete quite a few steps to ensure that the title is transferred correctly to the new owner.

  • Complete all the fields on the back of the title.
  • Give the buyer a notarized lien release.
  • Give the buyer the certificate of safety/emissions testing.
  • Take off your old license plates.

Common mistakes

  • Not having a lien release notarized

Inherited and gifted vehicles in Missouri

If you are gifting the car to someone, the process is the same as above. However, the “seller” will need to write “gift” on the back of the title where it asks for the purchase price. Additionally, there must be a written statement that the car is a gift, and a notarized lien release must be provided. Sellers have to report the change of ownership to the DOR by providing either a bill of sale or a notice of sale.

For those inheriting a vehicle, you’ll need to complete an Application for Missouri Title and License, and you will need the original title. You will also need original copies of the letters of administration, or a small estate certificate.

For more information about how to transfer a car title in Missouri, visit the state’s DOR website.

The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details
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Related questions

Q: Recieved the signed title but no bill of sale after purchasing a car

no charge for this answer: If the seller has signed over the vehicle to you, by conveying the ORIGINAL title (that is by signing the title over to you) you should not need additional "proof" of sale. The "conveyed" title...

Q: Is it illegal to have license plates as body work?

Hi Salvador, this is an interesting question. I'm not sure if it's legal or not so your best bet is to contact the Missouri DMV and see what they say.