How to Transfer a Title with a Power of Attorney

By Ronna L. DeLoe, Esq.

How to Transfer a Title with a Power of Attorney

By Ronna L. DeLoe, Esq.

Certain types of property, such as real estate and vehicles, have deeds and titles that require transferring the deed or title from the owner to the buyer in order to sell them. If you want someone to transfer this property for you, you will need to create a power of attorney (POA). Since you are giving the power to someone else, you are the principal, and the person acting for you is the agent or attorney-in-fact. Among the potential duties your agent will fulfill is the ability to transfer a deed or title.

Two people sitting at a table looking at paperwork

Types of Powers of Attorney

There are different kinds of powers of attorney. If you want your agent to transfer title for you and not have any other powers, give them limited authority. You also can give someone either durable or springing authority. A durable power of attorney (DPOA) is effective immediately and, if you should become incapacitated, the agent can still act on your behalf under the DPOA. A springing POA only becomes effective if you become incapacitated.

Regardless of which type of authority you choose to give, the document must give your agent the power to transfer title from you to another person and must list the agent's exact authority. This power can include power to transfer your house, your vehicle, or, in some states, a boat. The more specific you are in your document, the easier it will be for your agent to transfer title for you.

How to Give Authority to Transfer Property

There are several things to keep in mind if you want to create a POA that allows your agent to transfer property that is in your name. Follow these steps when doing so:

1. Prepare the document.

Include language that gives your agent or attorney-in-fact the power to transfer your property. Be specific about what the agent can transfer. You can use a general document to give the agent broad powers, but it must also include the power to transfer your property, including real and personal property with a deed or title.

2. If transferring a vehicle, check with your state's DMV website.

Check to see if the DMV has a specific form for selling the vehicle. Some states have their own form that you're expected to use. If your state has one, follow the directions to complete it. Upon transferring title, have the agent go to the the motor vehicle department in your state with the POA document, the title, and with any powers of attorney documents the state provides.

3. Give your agent a copy of the document and have them sign it.

If you're transferring the property immediately, give the title or deed to your agent. If you're transferring the property at a later date, let the agent know where they can find your title or deed.

When you're ready to have the title transferred, make sure the agent signs the title or deed in their capacity as your agent. They should sign either: a) Jane Smith [principal's name], by Sally Stevens [agent's name] under Power of Attorney, or b) Sally Stevens, attorney-in-fact for Jane Smith. Make sure the agent brings the POA document with them. Sometimes the agent must attach a copy of the document to the title or deed.

4. Have the agent attend the closing if transferring real estate.

Make sure the agent brings the deed and POA documentation to the closing. Either the buyer or agent will need to file the new deed with the Recorder of Deeds, County Clerk's Office, or the appropriate office in your county.

Once you decide to transfer property that comes with a title or deed, you can have a trusted person become your agent or attorney-in-fact so they can transfer the property for you. If you're transferring real estate, you will want to suggest that your agent hire an attorney for the real estate closing. The agent can do the vehicle transfer without an attorney's assistance. By following the steps here, the procedure will be relatively easy for both types of transfers.

This portion of the site is for informational purposes only. The content is not legal advice. The statements and opinions are the expression of author, not LegalZoom, and have not been evaluated by LegalZoom for accuracy, completeness, or changes in the law.