California Title Processing Information
I've got the title in front of me now where do I sign?:
Release ownership by signing on line one on the front of the title. If the vehicle is, or was financed, the lienholder’s name appears in the legal owner section and their release with counter signature is required on line two. For step-by-step instructions see the California DMV instructional video here.
Attached to the top of your California title should be a "Release of Liability/Notice of Transfer" form which you can tear off, complete with the name of the organization or individual you are giving the car to, sign, and mail to the address indicated. This form supplies the motor vehicle department with information about the next owner of the vehicle in the gap of time between when your car leaves your possession and the actual filing of ownership documents by the next owner. It's wise to keep a copy of both the signed title and this form for your records.
I'm the registered owner but I can't find my title:
The registered owner(s) of a vehicle can use for CA Reg. 262 and Reg. 227 in lieu of the title to release the vehicle to another party. If there was a lien on the title from a bank or other financial institution you will also need a lien release from the bank stating the loan has been paid off and releasing the lien on the vehicle.
Many of our tow companies that pickup cars in California carry these forms with them. Please ask them when they contact you to arrange for pickup whether they will be able to provide these forms.
If you do not want to go through the process of obtaining a duplicate title and simply want your car pickup in the fastest fashion, you can do one of the following.
If the vehicle is less than 10 model years, you will need to fill out a CA Reg. 227 and a completed CA Reg. 262 (in this case the Reg. 262 is used to disclose mileage) or you could submit a completed Reg. 262 only.
If the vehicle is 10 or more model years, you will need to fill out either a completed Reg. 227 or a completed
In either case, if there is a lien on the vehicle, the lien can be released on Reg. 227 or with a separate lien release. Notarization of the lien holder signature is only required when applying for a Clear title; it is not require when applying for a Salvage or Non-Repairable Certificate.
When you fill out the forms mentioned above you'll just need to hang on to them until our tow agency comes by to pick them up along with the vehicle. You don't need to send them anywhere.
The owner of the vehicle is deceased:
In the case of no probate proceedings: You'll be required to sign an Affidavit for Transfer without Probate (Form Reg.5) and either the vehicle title or form CA Reg. 227, the the next of kin or surviving spouse must sign both the name of the deceased and their own name. There is a restriction on Reg. 5 that it can only be used if 40 days have passed since the death and the estate is valued at less than $60,000.
In the case of a probated estate: You'll need certified copies of the probate papers from the court and either the vehicle title or form CA Reg. 227, the estate executor must sign both the name of the deceased and their own name.
The vehicle was abandoned on my property:
In most cases we can still pick up the vehicle, if we need paperwork from you it will be in the form of your signature on a short document describing the location where the vehicle was left and your request for us to remove it.
In the case of an abandoned vehicle in California it is possible for us to conduct something called a lien sale in which all previously registered owners are contacted to claim the vehicle, and if none move forward we are able to proceed through legal channels to obtain the vehicle title.
If the vehicle registration has lapsed more than 8 years it can be retitled using a salvage title without going through the lien sale process.