How to Transfer a Title With a Power of Attorney

by Marie Murdock

    An occasion may arise where you are appointed attorney-in-fact to transfer title to a vehicle using a power of attorney. A power of attorney is a document signed by someone, known as the principal, appointing another person as attorney-in-fact to sign legal documents or act on his behalf. A power of attorney may be limited to the specific purpose of transferring a vehicle title, or it may be general, authorizing many different actions, including transfer of title.

    Step 1

    Visit or instruct the vehicle’s seller to visit the website for your state’s department of motor vehicles. Many DMV sites have a fillable power-of-attorney form online that the seller may complete and print from his home computer. These power-of-attorney forms, specific to the transaction of conveying the motor vehicle, may require the listing of the auto's make, model, VIN number, license plate number and even odometer mileage. Instead of completing the form online, print the form for the principal or seller to complete by hand. A pre-existing general power of attorney appointing you as attorney-in-fact may be used if it authorizes the transfer of vehicle titles.

    Step 2

    Obtain the signed and completed power-of-attorney form from the seller of the vehicle. Some states may require that his signature be witnessed or notarized, or both, for the power of attorney to be effective.

    Step 3

    Sign the seller’s name to the title as well as your own in the form “John Doe by and through his attorney-in-fact, Joe Smith.” Depending on your state’s requirements, the title transfer may need to be notarized or witnessed, or both.

    Step 4

    Take the original signed title along with the original or certified copy of the power of attorney, as required by your state, to the local motor vehicle department. Present these documents to the clerk to complete the transfer and provide any additional information as required.

    Tips & Warnings

    • It may be possible to acquire forms at your local DMV office if you do not have Internet access or a printer available.
    • A local attorney may prepare a power of attorney at your request.
    • Secure powers of attorney are available in many states authorizing auto dealers and insurance companies to transfer title and make odometer mileage statements on the seller’s behalf pending receipt of the original title from a lienholder.
    • Make sure the odometer mileage reading is correctly recited on any paperwork you prepare as attorney-in-fact, as the seller may be held liable for any misstatement.

    About the Author

    Marie Murdock has been employed in the legal and title insurance industries for over 25 years. Murdock was first published in print in 1979 and has been writing online articles since mid-2010. Her articles have appeared on LegalZoom and various other websites.

    Photo Credits

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