Change of Legal Owner
A legal owner is someone holding a security interest in a vehicle. Legal owner and lienholder are one and the same. Change of legal owner for a vehicle may occur when a lien has been paid off or when the legal owner changes (for example when a car is refinanced).
What Must I Do When I Have Paid Off the Legal Owner?
To have the legal owner name removed from the title, you must submit the Certificate of Title to DMV. It must be signed on the designated line by the legal owner. In lieu of the legal owner's signature on the title, a Lien Satisfied Statement (REG 166), Application for Duplicate Title, or notarized statement on the financial institution's letterhead are acceptable (see below).
Remember: The department cannot remove the lienholder until you submit the title to the department to record the change.
What You Need
Any one of the three following options will satisfy DMV requirements for a legal owner release or "sign off". See below for help finding your legal owner.
1. The signature of the legal owner on the title or a notarized Lien Satisfied (REG 166) form.
2. An Application for Duplicate Title (REG 227) completed, signed, and notarized by the legal owner.
3. A notarized statement on the financial institution's letterhead that:
Describes the vehicle, and
Indicates that they no longer have record of your lien, and
States that they have no interest in the vehicle.