Montana requires that all vehicles in the state have a title in the name of the owner. When ownership changes, either through a sale, gifting, inheritance, or through a simple name change, the title needs to be transferred. The requirements for the state aren’t that difficult to follow, but it does help to know what you’re up against.
If you’re buying a car
If you’re buying a car in Montana from a private seller, you’ll need to follow a few steps to transfer the title.
- Make sure that the seller has completed the backside of the title and provides it to you with their signature. Note that it must be notarized.
- Make sure that you and the seller complete a bill of sale that includes vital information, such as the amount paid, the date of the sale, both of your names, and your signatures. This must also be notarized.
- Get a lien release from the seller if there is a lien on the title.
- Get insurance on the car.
- Complete the Application for Certificate of Title for a Motor Vehicle.
- Bring all of this information to the MVD. You’ll need to pay $12 to title the car.
- Not getting a lien release
- Not having the title and bill of sale notarized
If you’re selling a car
For sellers, transferring a car title in Montana requires a few different steps. These include:
- Complete the back side of the title and fill in all required fields. Get the title notarized before giving it to the buyer.
- Work with the buyer to complete a bill of sale and have it notarized (with your signature and that of the buyer).
- Give the buyer a lien release.
- Not providing the buyer with a lien release
For inherited and gifted cars in Montana
Montana makes the gifting process pretty simple. It’s the same as outlined above, but the sale price on the bill of sale and the back of the title should be listed as $0. However, inherited cars are different. You’ll need:
- The original title
- The Application for Certificate of a Title for a Motor Vehicle
- Note that if the estate was probated and there was only one name on the title, the executor handles the process. If there were multiple owners on the title, the surviving owner(s) handle it.
- Note that if the estate was not probated, the process is the same except there will be no executor.
For more information about how to transfer a car title in Montana, visit the state’s Department of Justice website.