If Two Names Are on a Car Title Can One Person Sell It?

If Two Names Are on a Car Title Can One Person Sell It

Suppose you are in a situation where your name is on a car title along with another person, and you are considering selling the vehicle. In that case, you might wonder if you can do so without the other person’s permission or involvement. So if two names are on a car title, can one person sell it?

No, If two names are on a car title, both parties must typically agree and sign the necessary paperwork to sell the vehicle. If the names are joined by “and” or “&,” both parties must sign the title and other necessary documents. If the names are joined by “or” or “/,” only one person can sell or transfer the vehicle without signature of the other party.

The answer to this question can be complicated and depends on various factors, such as the ownership structure of the vehicle and the laws of the state in which you reside.

Understanding Two names on the car title certificate

When two names are listed on a car title certificate, co owners jointly own the vehicle. Joint ownership means both parties have a legal claim to the vehicle and share responsibility.

Understanding the implications of having two names on a car title can help you navigate the processes of selling, transferring, or making decisions related to the vehicle.

Types of joint ownership

1) Tenants in Common

Both parties own an undivided interest in the vehicle in this arrangement. If one owner dies, their share passes to their heirs rather than the co-owner. Tenants in common are the default form of joint ownership in many jurisdictions unless otherwise specified.

2) Joint Tenants with Right of Survivorship

If one owner dies, their share automatically passes to the surviving owner. This right of survivorship supersedes any claims made in a will or trust.

Selling or transferring the vehicle

As mentioned in the previous answer, how the names are listed on the title determines the requirements for selling or transferring the vehicle.

Liability and financial responsibility

With two names on the vehicle’s title, co owners share responsibility for the vehicle. This includes maintenance, repairs, insurance, and any legal liabilities arising from accidents or traffic violations.

Both parties need to communicate and agree on how to share these responsibilities.

Credit Impact

If both parties are also listed on the auto loan, each person’s credit score may be affected by the loan’s status. Late or missed payments and defaults can negatively impact both parties’ credit scores.

In the case of timely payments, both parties can benefit from an improved credit score.

Tenants in Common

If Two Names Are on a Car Title Can One Person Sell It?

If two names are on a car title, both parties must typically agree to sell the car. The way the names are listed on the title can impact the requirements for selling the car.

1) Joint ownership with “and” or “&”

If the names are listed with “and” or “&” between them (e.g., John Keo and Jane Dov), both parties must sign the title and bill of sale to legally transfer ownership.

Because the conjunction “and” implies that both individuals have an equal stake in the vehicle and must provide consent for sale.

2) Joint ownership with “or” or “/”

If the names are listed with “or” or “/” between them (e.g., John Keo or Jane Dov)), either party can sell the vehicle without the other’s signature.

Because the conjunction “or” implies that either party has the authority to make decisions regarding the vehicle, including selling it.

However, it’s important to note that rules and regulations can vary by state or country, so it’s best to check with your local Department of motor vehicles (DMV) or similar agency for specific information regarding selling jointly owned vehicles.

car title certificate

Read More About: Benefit of Having Two Names on Car Title

Can a Car Be in 2 People’s Names?

Yes, a car can be in two people’s names, indicating joint ownership. When a car title has two names on it, both individuals share legal rights and responsibilities related to the vehicle.

Dual name arrangement on the car title certificate is common among spouses, family members, or close friends who purchase a car together.

Why Would There Be Two Names on a Car Title?

There could be two names on a car title for various reasons, reflecting different situations and intentions of the parties involved.

Some common reasons for having two names on a vehicle title include the following:

Two people may decide to purchase a car together, sharing the financial responsibility for the vehicle. This is common among spouses, family members, or close friends.

If one person has a weaker credit history and cannot qualify, a second person with a better credit history may co-sign the loan, leading to both names being on the car title.

In some jurisdictions, when a married couple purchases a car, both names are placed on the title to reflect joint ownership of the vehicle as a marital asset.

A vehicle may be gifted or inherited by more than one person, placing both names on the vehicle title to indicate joint ownership.

Having two names on a car title can provide additional protection against potential legal claims or financial issues. For example, if one owner faces a lawsuit or bankruptcy, the other owner’s interest in the vehicle might protect it from being seized or liquidated.

In some cases, adding a second name to a vehicle title can be part of an estate planning strategy to ensure a smooth transfer of ownership upon the death of one of the owners.

car selling

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How to Transfer a Car Title with Two Owners.

Transferring a car title with two owners can be straightforward if you follow the necessary steps. Each state in the United States has specific requirements for transferring a car title, so it is essential to check your state’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) website or visit your local DMV office for accurate information.

However, the following general steps can guide you in transferring a car title between two owners:

1) Obtain the current title

The first step is to ensure you have the original car title, also known as the “pink slip” or “certificate of title,” which lists both owners.

If you cannot find the title or it is damaged, you must apply for a duplicate title before proceeding.

2) Review the title for joint ownership type

The car title will indicate how the two owners are listed, either as “AND” (both owners are required to sign) or “OR” (either owner can sign). This will determine how to proceed with the transfer or to remove a co owner.

3) Complete the necessary information

On the back of the title, you will find sections to fill out the required information for transferring the title. Both owners must complete these sections, including the date of sale, odometer reading, and sale price.

Make sure to provide accurate information and sign where required.

4) Signatures of both owners

If the title has “AND” listed between the owners’ names, both owners must legally sign the title. If “OR” is listed, only one owner needs to sign.

Sometimes, the title may have a space for a notary public, and you may need to have the signatures notarized.

5) Prepare a bill of sale

While not always required, it’s a good idea to prepare a bill of sale. The bill of sale should include the vehicle’s make, model, year, VIN, sale price, and the names and signatures of both the buyer(s) and the seller(s).

This document serves as proof of the transaction and may be required for tax purposes.

6) Obtain a lien release

If there is an outstanding loan on the vehicle, you must obtain a lien release from the lienholder, usually a bank or financial institution. The lien release confirms that the loan has been paid off, and the lienholder no longer has a claim on the vehicle.

7) Submit the necessary paperwork

Visit your local DMV office or the appropriate state agency to submit the signed title, bill of sale, and lien release (if applicable).

You may also need to provide proof of identity and proof of insurance policy and pay any applicable title transfer fees, sales tax, or other fees.

8) Notify your insurance company

Once the title transfer is complete, inform your insurance company about the change in ownership to update the policy accordingly in the insurance documents.

9) New owner registration

The new owner(s) should now register the vehicle in their name(s) and obtain new license plates, if necessary.


How do you get a copy of the car title?

To get a copy of the car title, visit your local Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) office or its website, complete an application for a duplicate title, and pay the required fee. You may need to provide proof of identity and vehicle ownership.

Can you sell a car without a title?

Selling a car without a title is generally not advised, as the title proves ownership. However, a bill of sale and proper identification may suffice in some cases. Check your local laws and DMV regulations for specific requirements.

If two names are on a title, who owns the car?

If two names are on a title, both parties own the car. The wording on the title determines the type of joint ownership. If “AND” is listed, both owners must sign for transactions; if “OR” is listed, either owner can sign.

Should husband and wife have both names on the car title?

Whether a husband and wife should have both names on a vehicle title depends on personal preferences and financial considerations. Joint ownership may provide added legal protection and simplify inheritance but can also complicate disputes or separation.

If you have any questions, feel free to ask in the comment section. Our team will get back to you shortly.

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