Certificates of Title Law and Legal Definition

A certificate of title is a legal proof of ownership that is governed by state laws, which vary by state. Certificates of title are often issued for automobiles and watercraft. State laws may require that upon the sale of a car, the seller must provide the buyer with a certificate of title within a certain time period. If a person buys a vehicle from an individual, usually the purchaser is responsible for the transfer of the title. The title must be obtained from the title office in any county.

An application for a transfer of title usually must be accompanied by previous owner's assigned, notarized, Certificate of Title; registration card, Bill of Sale from non-titled state accompanied by Motor Vehicle VIN Inspection Certificate.