How do I place a vehicle into a trust?
To place a vehicle in a living (inter vivos) or other type of trust, you must title the vehicle in the name of the trust. You can apply for a title (and registration) in person at any of the MVA's full service branch offices. You also can mail the documents to the MVA's mail in title unit in the Glen Burnie office, or go to an where they will assist you in applying.
Typically, you will need to submit the following forms:
- Proof of ownership – This is the vehicle’s current title that has been properly assigned to the trust. Note that if the title was issued in Maryland, it can be used as your application form for titling and registering the vehicle.
- Application form – If the vehicle’s current title was issued in Maryland, use it as your application form by completing the section entitled Application for Title and Registration. If not, use the Application for Certificate of Title (VR-005). Be sure to include your insurance information. Your policy must conform to Maryland’s minimum liability insurance requirements.
- Proof of purchase price – This should be a bill of sale signed by both the buyer(s) and seller(s). For non-dealer sales, the bill of sale must be on the MVA's Bill of Sale and notarized if the following conditions apply:
- the vehicle is less than 7 years old; and
- the purchase price is at least $500 below the book value; and
- the new owner (trust) wants to base the excise tax calculation (6% of the vehicle’s value) on the sale price rather than the book value.
- Odometer disclosure statement – If the vehicle has a Maryland title, the odometer reading can be recorded and attested to in the section entitled Assignment of Ownership. You also can submit an odometer disclosure statement that meets federal requirements such as the MVA Odometer Disclosure Statement.
- Maryland Inspection Certificate – This Maryland State Police form is needed for used vehicles that are being registered (most cases). It certifies that your vehicle meets Maryland safety standards and is valid for up to 90 days from the date issued. A safety inspection may not be required if the vehicle is being placed into a living (inter vivos) trust.
- Copies of certain pages in the trust agreement – Only copies of the pages in the agreement that name the trust, identify the trustee (trust owner) and primary beneficiary, and include the signature and seal must be submitted. This is typically the first and last page of the trust agreement.
Under certain circumstances, additional information and/or forms may be required:
- Lien information – If you borrowed money to buy the vehicle, the lien information may need to be recorded on the application for certificate of title using the VR-005, or the back of the Maryland title. The MVA form entitled Security Interest Filing (form #VR-217) must be used if a second lien is placed against the title.
- Lien release – If the existing title indicates that a lien was placed against it, you must submit a lien release. For a vehicle that was titled in Maryland, this could be a properly completed and signed Maryland Security Interest Filing (SIF) or a signed letter from the lien holder specifically identifying the vehicle and stating that the lien has been released. If the vehicle is currently titled in another state, you may submit a signed letter of release from the lien holder or you may have the lien holder sign the title indicating that the lien has been released.
- Lien transfer letter (if applicable) – This letter must be submitted on the lien holder’s letterhead and must state that the lien can be transferred onto the new title (trust).
- Power of attorney – If someone other than yourself (the new owner) is signing the titling forms for you, this document is required.
A vehicle titled in Maryland that is placed in a living trust is exempt from excise taxes when the current owner, the trust owner and the trust's primary beneficiary are all the same person. If registered, the vehicle does not need a Maryland safety inspection and the vehicle's current license plates may remain on it.
Excise tax will be charged for a new vehicle placed in a living trust and for a new or used vehicle placed in any other type of trust. All of these vehicles will be issued new license plates as part of the registration process. Used vehicles also must receive a Maryland safety inspection, as applicable.
Note that a vehicle titled in another state and brought into Maryland for the purpose of placing it into a trust, also will be charged excise taxes, and the vehicle must be Maryland safety inspected prior to being registered.
If you also intend to register the vehicle, additional forms are needed. Registration requirements vary greatly by the type and intended use of the vehicle. The requirements for most vehicles can be found in Registration – Common Vehicles.
Your title will be mailed to you regardless of how you apply. If you also register the vehicle, your registration card, license plates and expiration date stickers can be provided immediately when you apply in person to the MVA; otherwise, these items also will be mailed to you.
How do I title a vehicle that has been left in trust for me?
If you have been left a vehicle in trust, you are not required to re-title the vehicle. You may legally drive it while it is titled in the trust's name. However, if you choose to title the vehicle in your name, different rules apply. For more information, please see Titling – Vehicle Purchased from a Non-Dealer. You will be charged excise tax for this transaction, based on the vehicle's value. In addition, a Maryland Safety Inspection Certificate is required before registering the vehicle in your name.
Note: On July 1, 2015 all businesses wishing to title a vehicle will be required to show proof of the legal existence of the business. The business will be given a number with a "Z" to identify it.
- The fee for titling a vehicle typically includes a title fee, excise tax, and a security interest (lien) filing fee if required.
- The fee for registration varies by the type of vehicle, its weight, and/or its intended use. See Fees for Registration Plates for more information.
Mail In Title Unit
6601 Ritchie Highway, NE
Glen Burnie, MD 21062
For telephone questions:
MVA Customer Service Center: