How to Get a Title for a Car Without One in South Carolina

by Scott Krohn

The process for getting a title for a car in South Carolina depends on the owner of record, whether there is still money due on the purchase or the vehicle was received as part of an inheritance.

Ordering a Duplicate Title

In South Carolina, if the certificate of title has been lost or damaged, a duplicate can be ordered by the owner on record. The application for a duplicate title can be submitted either by mail or with a visit to a local DMV office. To apply, the owner must turn in a completed the _Application for Certificate of Title/Registration --_Form 400 -- which must include mileage as well as the names of any lienholders. To complete the process, the owner must submit valid identification and applicable fees.

Getting the Title From a Lienholder

When a car is purchased in South Carolina with financing, the institution that provided the funds will hold the title and be listed as a lienholder until the loan has been paid in full. The state allows for lienholders to retain titles in either a paper or digital format. If the title is held as a paper certificate, when all interest, principle and applicable fees have been paid the lienholder can either fill out the lien release on the front of the title or mail a letter detailing the release of the lien and signed by an authorized representative of the lender to the vehicle owner. The documents can be submitted to the DMV to remove the lienholder and get a new title. If the title is held in a digital format, the lienholder can release the lien with the DMV via an electronic notification.

Inheriting a Vehicle

To get the title on an inherited vehicle, the heir must go to a state probate court for a determination of the appropriate form to apply for the new title. An Affidavit for Collection of Personal Property Pursuant to Small Estate Proceedings will be issued for settlements that do not require a formal probate protocol. A Personal Representative with an original Certificate of Appointment form will be used when an executor of the estate has been named in the will. A Probate Court Order will be issued when the a South Carolina court is overseeing the distribution of assets. Once the form has been issued by the court, the heir can take that document and the Application for Certificate of Title/Registration to the DMV to Apply for a new title.

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