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The state of New Mexico requires that cars have titles registered to their owners. When a car is bought or sold, or if it is given as a gift or inherited after the owner dies, the title must be changed to reflect the name of the new owner. Title transfers in New Mexico aren’t complicated, but the process does require some specific steps for all parties involved.
If you’re a buyer
For those buying a car in New Mexico, the process is pretty simple and straightforward. You will need to:
Make sure that the seller completes the back of the title accurately.
Make sure that the seller provides you with a lien release.
You’ll need to complete the Application for Title and Registration.
You’ll need to get insurance on the car.
You’ll need to provide proof of your residency in the state as well as your identity.
Take all of this information, along with the money to pay the title transfer and registration fees, to the local MVD office. Title transfers will cost $17, and the registration will vary depending on the type of vehicle, and the duration of the registration (1 or 2 years). Costs can be as low as $27 or as high as $207.
- Not ensuring the title is completed accurately
- Not getting a lien release
If you’re a seller
Like buyers, sellers have some specific steps that must be completed. These include:
Complete the back of the title and ensure that all information is recorded accurately. If there is not enough room or a provided space for the odometer reading, you’ll need to use an Odometer Disclosure Statement or give the buyer a bill of sale with this information on it.
Give the buyer a lien release.
- Not providing the buyer with a lien release
- Not recording the odometer reading accurately
If you’re gifting or inheriting in New Mexico
If you’re giving or receiving a vehicle in New Mexico, the process is the same as listed above, with the exception that the receiver must complete an Affidavit of Gift of Motor Vehicle or Boat and have it notarized.
Inheriting a vehicle in the state, on the other hand, is complicated and will vary greatly depending on the situation. For instance:
If the estate is probated, the administrator will handle all disbursements.
If the estate is not probated and there is no will, the surviving spouse or heir will handle all disbursements.
In all instances, the title cannot be transferred sooner than 30 days after death.
All instances require the death certificate.
In the event of no will, the person assuming ownership will need to complete a Certificate of Transfer without Probate.
For more information about how to transfer a car title in New Mexico, visit the state’s MVD website.
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