How to Assign a Car Title to a Teen

by Nancy Wagner, Demand Media
    Every state sets its own laws about how old a minor must be in order to own a car.

    Every state sets its own laws about how old a minor must be in order to own a car.

    The day has come -- you’ve decided to turn your car over to the teenage driver in your family. But before you kiss the title goodbye, make sure you know your state’s regulations about the age requirement to hold a title. Even if your state allows your teen to become the official owner of your vehicle, check with your insurance company as it may have its own guidelines for how old the primary driver must be to get liability insurance.

    Items you will need

    • Car title

    Step 1

    Contact your state’s Department of Motor Vehicles to determine the minimum age that a teenager is allowed to own a car in his own name. In Alaska, for instance, the title can be transferred to teens over 16 years old. Texas laws do not specify any age restrictions for owning a vehicle. But in many states, you must be at least 18 to become the sole owner of a vehicle. In Ohio, you must provide a minor consent form to allow your child to assume the title.

    Step 2

    Fill out the back of the title, as the transferor of the vehicle, by providing a signature and a date. Write the odometer reading where requested. Add “gift” in the field that asks for the purchase price. Some states require you to obtain a notarized statement indicating that the car was gifted to the child. Other states, such as Maryland, also require you and your teenager to fill out a gift certification application statement, available at the DMV office.

    Step 3

    Ask your teen to sign and date the back of the title, to show she assumes ownership of the car and all the responsibilities that go with it.

    Step 4

    Start teaching your child the joy of owning a vehicle by helping him get ready to pay money -- a titling fee along with sales tax or excise fees to assume ownership of the car may be necessary. If you gift the car to your teenager, he may be able to avoid paying excise or sales taxes as a member of your family.

    Step 5

    Ask your teenager to take the signed and completed title to your local DMV office to file the document as the new owner of the vehicle. Your teenager needs to bring proof of auto liability insurance for the vehicle and the titling fee. You may need to accompany your child to the DMV office to sign any legal documents required because you’re still her guardian or parent.

    Tip

    • If your child has a different last name, she will need to bring proof of the relationship to show that she is your child.

    Warning

    • Filing the new title with the DMV needs to be done within a few days because some states, such as California, charge a transfer penalty if the fee is not paid within a specific amount of time.

    About the Author

    Nancy Wagner is a marketing strategist and speaker who started writing in 1998. She writes business plans for startups and established companies and teaches marketing and promotional tactics at local workshops. Wagner's business and marketing articles have appeared in "Home Business Journal," "Nation’s Business," "Emerging Business" and "The Mortgage Press," among others. She holds a B.S. from Eastern Illinois University.

    Photo Credits

    • PhotoObjects.net/PhotoObjects.net/Getty Images