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How to Title a Gifted Vehicle in Michigan

by Jenny Parker

A new or used vehicle is one of the most exciting gifts a person can receive, and transferring the title to the new owner's name is an easy and relatively inexpensive process in Michigan, as long as you have all of the required documentation. Making sure that all forms are filled out properly before making the trip to the Secretary of State office to transfer your title will minimize the amount of time it will take before you can fully enjoy your new car.

Get the original title from the person who is giving you the vehicle. A copy of the title will not be accepted. The giver must fill out and sign the seller's portion of the title, including information such as the date, the name of the recipient, and the vehicle's odometer reading.

Check the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) on the title against the VIN on the vehicle to be sure that they match, and verify that the giver has correctly filled in all necessary information. If the license plates are not also being transferred to the recipient, the giver must remove them. Under Michigan law, a newly acquired vehicle may be driven directly home with no license plates.

Visit your local Secretary of State branch office with your paperwork within 15 days of receiving the vehicle. Ideally, the giver and the recipient should go to the office together to finish the title transfer process, but it can be completed with only the recipient present as long as the giver has already filled out his portion of the title. In addition to the title, the recipient must bring her identification and proof of auto insurance. This must be Michigan no-fault insurance; no out-of-state insurance policies will be accepted.

Pay all necessary fees. As of December 2010, the fee to transfer a title is $15, which can be paid via cash or credit card. If the vehicle has been given to you by an immediate family member, such as a parent, stepparent, grandparent, sibling, child, or spouse, the 6% use tax will be waived.

Wait to receive your new title in the mail. If you would rather not have to do this, Michigan does offer the option of obtaining an instant title for an additional $5 fee.

Warning

  • Failure to transfer the title to your name within 15 days of being given the vehicle will result in a $15 late fee.

About the Author

Jenny Parker is a New England-based entrepreneur who has been writing since 1995. Parker writes extensively on creative self-employment and genealogy; her work has appeared on Etsy.com and Ancestry.com. She also has self-published several short story collections and is currently working on her first non-fiction book chronicling the history of her ancestors in America.

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