What Do I Need for a Montana Title Transfer?

When you need to transfer a vehicle’s title in Montana, there is specific documentation you need to obtain. To successfully transfer a vehicle title in Montana, you need these documents:

  • Application for Certificate of Title for a Motor Vehicle (Form MV1)
  • Proof of Security Interest or Lien (Lien Release Form) (Form MV37A)
  • Bill of Sale (Form MV24)
  • Payment for all applicable fees

Keep in mind, you may be required to submit additional paperwork and pay additional fees.

Smog Certification/Vehicle Inspection

Montana does not have vehicle emissions testing requirements at this time. This state does not have any populated areas that obtain a non-attainment status given by the government, so there is no need for these tests.

How to Transfer Your Vehicle Title in Montana?

Once you move to Montana, you have 60 days to title and register your vehicle with the MT Motor Vehicle Division. You need to visit your local Montana county clerk and submit the following:

  • The out-of-state vehicle title and/or registration
  • A completed Application for Certificate of Title for a Motor Vehicle (Form MV1)
  • A Statement of Fact (Form MV100) (if requested by the county agent)
  • Payment for the MT vehicle titling fee (an additional $10.30 is required if recording a lien)

There are different steps you need to take and documents you need to provide if you’re buying, selling, or gifting a vehicle.

Transferring a Title When You’re Buying or Selling a Vehicle

The process for transferring a vehicle title purchased from a dealer is different from transferring the title of a vehicle purchased from a private party.

Transferring the Title of a Vehicle Purchased From a Dealer in MT

When you purchase a vehicle from a dealership in Montana, you don’t have to worry about the vehicle title transfer process because the dealer handles the paperwork and the process for you. You need to make sure you receive a copy of all the documents to keep for your records.

Transferring the Title of a Vehicle Purchased From a Private Party

When you purchase a vehicle from a private seller, most of the transfer process is for you to handle. You need to make sure the vehicle’s seller provides you with:

  • The vehicle title signed over to you (the title must have the vehicle seller’s signature and be notarized.
  • A bill of sale (Form MV24). Make sure the following information is provided:
    • Date of purchase of sale
    • Both the buyer and seller names
    • Notarized signatures
  • Proof of a lien release (if applicable)

Once you have the above-listen documentation, you need to submit these items at your local MT Motor Vehicle Department (MVD):

  • All documents provided by the vehicle’s seller
  • A completed Application for Certificate of Title for a Motor Vehicle (Form MV1)
  • Payment for the titling fee (you will need an additional $10.30 if recording a lien)

In a scenario where the vehicle title can’t be provided to the vehicle buyer, you can use an electronic record transfer instead.

Transferring a Vehicle Title When Selling a Vehicle in Montana

When you’re selling a vehicle in Montana, most of the tasks that need to complete are up to the vehicle’s buyer to complete. However, there are also steps you need to take and documents you are responsible for providing.

The steps you need to take when you are transferring the title of a vehicle when you’re selling it are:

  • Properly sign over the vehicle’s title by correctly filling out the form and having your signature on the title notarized
  • Complete a bill of sale (Form MV24) and make sure it includes:
    • Seller and buyer names
    • Date and purchase of sale
    • Notarized signatures
  • Any proof of lien release (if there was a loan previously on the vehicle)

Make sure you have the above-stated documents ready to avoid delays in the MT vehicle title transfer process.

How to Transfer a Car Title When the Owner is Deceased?

As the beneficiary of the vehicle, you have different options and have the legal authority to transfer the vehicle’s title to someone else if the vehicle’s owner has passed away. The joint-owner or surviving spouse has the same legal authority as the beneficiary.

When a vehicle’s owner passes away, the process you are required to follow to transfer the vehicle’s title depends on whether the title was in the individual’s name as a descendant or if there was joint ownership. In the case where the vehicle’s title was solely in the descendant’s name, you need to know whether the estate is being probated.

Probate not only validates the deceased individual’s property and assets, but it also proves the last will and testament are legitimate. This legal process administers the estate of the deceased individual when there is no beneficiary or living spouse provided on the will. Probate Court will determine how the person’s belongings will be distributed based on the will.

If the vehicle in question is part of a probated estate, you need to follow these steps to successfully transfer the vehicle title of a deceased individual in Montana:

Contact Probate Court or an Attorney

An MT vehicle title transfer can’t occur when there is active probate, so it’s the administrator’s or executor’s responsibility to contact Probate Court or an attorney to determine the next steps that need to be taken in the probate process. When the probate is completed, the heir will receive the vehicle unless the executor was given the vehicle. If the executor was given the vehicle, they can choose to sell the vehicle.

Gather the Necessary Documentation

The required documents for transferring a vehicle title when the owner of the vehicle is deceased varies by state. In the state of Montana, you are required to have all the following documents and payments in order to successfully transfer the vehicle’s title:

  • Order from Probate Court to transfer the vehicle’s title
  • Certificate of title
  • Odometer disclosure statement
  • Death certificate
  • Transfer fee

Visit the Title Office

If you are the administrator of the deceased individual’s estate or the beneficiary of the vehicle in question, you can visit your local Montana title office with the above-listed documentation and payment to initiate the vehicle title transfer.

Transferring a Vehicle Title Without Probate

The state of Montana requires the deceased person’s property to not exceed a certain amount and a specific amount of time needs to have passed since the vehicle’s owner passed away before a vehicle title transfer can be initiated.

Since there is no probate involved, if you are the joint-owner, beneficiary, or administrator, you may only be requested to submit the death certificate and vehicle title at your local MT title office where the vehicle’s title can be retitled. There is no court order or attorney required for this scenario.

Transferring a Vehicle Title for Inherited Vehicles in MT

If you inherited a vehicle, the process for transferring the vehicle’s title depends on the status of the estate.

If the estate is probated, there should be a personal representative or executor of the estate that is named on the will or appointed by the court. The executor is required to handle the vehicle title transfer process if the vehicle was solely titled in the deceased individual’s name.

If the vehicle in question had multiple owners listed, the surviving vehicle owner is required to handle the MT vehicle title transfer.

To successfully transfer the vehicle title of an inherited vehicle in MT, you need:

  • The vehicle title
  • A copy of the death certificate
  • A completed Application for Certificate of Title for a Motor Vehicle (Form MV1)

In the event there are multiple surviving vehicle owners listed on the vehicle title, and one or more of the owners wish to remove their name from the vehicle title, they must sign off as the “seller(s)” of the vehicle to the remaining owner(s).

If you decide to sell the vehicle to a third party, you need to have the vehicle title signed and notarized, and follow the instructions for buying or selling a vehicle in Montana.

For an inherited vehicle of a non-probated estate, there is no representative or executor appointed by a court or will, so there are no requirements for these individuals. In this scenario, you will follow the required steps for transferring the vehicle title in a probated estate.

Transferring a Vehicle Title After a Lease Buyout

You did it! You paid off your vehicle loan. When you pay off your vehicle loan, you can apply to have the security interest removed from your vehicle title and receive a clean vehicle title.

You need to submit either of the following at your local MT MVD:

  • A completed Notice of Security Interest/Lien Filing/Lien Release/Repossession Form
  • The generic Release of Security Interest or Lien (Form MV37A)


  • A security interest/lien release on the leasing company’s letterhead with a complete description of the vehicle title and lien information
  • Your current vehicle title
  • Payment for the $10.30 new title without a lien title fee

You can take the above-listed items to your local MVD branch office, or submit everything by mail to the following address:

Vehicle Services Bureau
302 N Roberts
Helena, MT 59620

How to Transfer Ownership of a Vehicle Without a Title in Montana?

If a vehicle doesn’t have a title, you must apply for a replacement vehicle title with the Montana Vehicle Services Bureau. You can apply for a duplicate Montana vehicle title by following these steps:

  • Complete an Application for Duplicate Certificate of Title (Form MV7)
  • Submit a Statement of Fact (Form MV100) and include the application form if you are requesting a duplicate vehicle title because of a legal name change.
  • Payment for the MT duplicate vehicle title fee of $10.30

You can submit these documents in person or by mail to the following address:

Vehicle Services Bureau
Motor Vehicle Division
Montana Department of Justice
P.O. Box 201431
302 N Roberts
Helena, MT 59620

Can I Gift a Car to a Family Member?

When you gift a vehicle in Montana, you follow the same process you would if you were buying or selling a vehicle to a private party. Make sure you list the purchase price as “$0” or GIFT in the price section of the vehicle’s title.

Transferring a Vehicle Title When You Have an Out-of-State Title

If your vehicle was registered in a different state, you are required to initiate a vehicle title transfer for the vehicle. In the state of Montana, you must start the vehicle title transfer process for all used vehicles that have out-of-state documents, whether the vehicle was purchased from a dealership or a private seller.

Keep in mind, new residents of Montana are required to complete the vehicle title transfer process and obtain new license plates within 60 days of their move.

You will need to pay all applicable fees and submit different documents to successfully transfer an out-of-state vehicle title in Montana, such as:

  • A completed certificate of title application
  • The out-of-state vehicle title certificate and registration card
  • A completed statement of fact form
  • Proof of an MT vehicle liability insurance policy (if required)
  • An official identification document, such as a driver’s license or an ID card
  • Proof of Montana residency (if required)

Be advised, if your out-of-state vehicle title is in a lien holder’s possession, the MT MVD will be required to obtain the vehicle title certificate with a written title request form before completing the vehicle title transfer.

Requesting a Duplicate Vehicle Title in Montana

You might need to replace your vehicle’s title for different reasons, such as the document being lost, damaged, or stolen. To request a duplicate Montana vehicle title, follow these steps:

  • Complete an Application for Replacement Certificate of Title (Form MV7)
  • Payment for the duplicate title fee of $10.30

You can submit these items at your local Montana MVD branch office or mail them to the following address:

Vehicle Services Bureau
P.O. Box 201431
302 N. Roberts
Helena, MT 59620

How Much Does a Title Transfer Cost in Montana?

The fee you are charged depends on the type of vehicle you need to transfer the title for. When it comes to lightweight vehicles, busses, and trucks that weigh less than one ton, the application fee is $12.

All other vehicle transfers have a fee of $10. These rates are subject to change, which makes it important to determine how much it costs to transfer a vehicle’s title.

Where Can I Go to Transfer a Vehicle Title in Montana?

The state of Montana has different MVD locations you can visit to transfer the title of a vehicle.

Montana Motor Vehicle Division Headquarters
302 N Roberts St
Helena, MT 59601
(406) 444-3933

Monday-Friday (8 AM to 5 PM)
Saturday and Sunday (Closed)

Montana Department of Motor Vehicles
50 Airport Rd
Lewiston, MT 59457
(406) 538-8725

Monday (9 AM to 4:30 PM)
Tuesday (1 PM to 4:30 PM)
Wednesday and Friday (8 AM to 4:30 PM)
Thursday (8 AM to 12 PM)
Saturday and Sunday (Closed)

How to Fill Out the Montana Title and Title Transfer Forms

You need to ensure you complete all the required forms to prevent delays and avoid unnecessary penalties and fees. Make sure you create a bill of sale that discloses different vehicle factors, including its color, make, model, and year. Keep in mind, you may also need to include the vehicle’s VIN.

If you sold your vehicle, you need to add sales tax to the vehicle’s total price. In the “transfer of title by seller” section of the vehicle title, you need to provide an accurate odometer reading. The buyer of the vehicle needs to sign their name in the provided spaces on the vehicle’s title.

You may also be required to provide additional documents, such as proof of a valid MT vehicle insurance policy that meets or exceeds the coverage limits set by the state of Montana. You may also be required to provide a valid government-issued photo ID. However, if you don’t have one, a foreign passport will suffice as an acceptable form of identity verification.

My Car Title Was Signed But Never Transferred. What Do I Do?

When a vehicle has a title that is not transferred, it is considered an open title. The vehicle’s seller didn’t transfer ownership of the vehicle or didn’t register it in their name. When a vehicle has an open title, the vehicle’s seller doesn’t have any legal liability to the vehicle since their name isn’t on the vehicle title.

If the seller of the vehicle has lost the vehicle’s title, the title will be temporarily open. They will need to request a duplicate vehicle title (Form MV7), then sign it over to you for you to put in your name.

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