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View Full Version : Does your state require Notarized signatures for vehicle title transfers?


XDCX
01-16-2012, 11:19 AM
I've been spending time in Arizona and was surprised to learn that the state requires all vehicle title transfer signatures to be notarized - even power of attorney forms used by dealerships.

I've owned vehicles in Washington, Oregon, California and Hawaii and I can't recall a situation where I needed to have a signature notarized to transfer a vehicle title.

Do any other states require notarized signatures for vehicle titles?

Call me a skeptic, but I have a hard time seeing how Arizona's requirement for notarized signatures cuts down of fraud or forgery. In my eyes if someone's going to break the law by forging a signature they probably don't have an issue by taking the extra step and falsifying the notary stamp.

steve_biegler
01-16-2012, 12:13 PM
South Dakota.....nope. When they outlaw guns only outlaws will have guns.....Crooks don't care.

mr4t60e
01-16-2012, 01:42 PM
No notary is required in MI. Methinks it is a decent revenue generator...

XDCX
01-16-2012, 02:03 PM
Methinks it is a decent revenue generator...

That may be true but the only ones making any money are the Notary Publics. (Maybe the state makes some money on licensing the notaries but it can't be much.)

Arizona's requirement must be a real pain for the smaller dealerships with limited office staff. On Craigslist there are ads for Notary Publics who are mobile and will notarize a signature on-sight for $30 - I guess that's always an option.

mr4t60e
01-16-2012, 04:01 PM
I bought my current car in PA. The majority of the DMV system is private there. I was looking into what notary service cost before flying out and found it ranged from $26 (for a AAA member...I was) to $160 for inner city locations. Mind you, I was never asked to show any form of ID when I was doing my paperwork, so as far as requiring notary service reducing forgery, I fail to see how the extra step does anything but require more work for all involved...

XDCX
01-16-2012, 04:14 PM
I bought my current car in PA. The majority of the DMV system is private there. I was looking into what notary service cost before flying out and found it ranged from $26 (for a AAA member...I was) to $160 for inner city locations. Mind you, I was never asked to show any form of ID when I was doing my paperwork, so as far as requiring notary service reducing forgery, I fail to see how the extra step does anything but require more work for all involved...

I want to make sure I understand, was it PA or your home state that required the notarized signature?

As an example, my Jeep is still titled in Washington but if I were to sell it here in Arizona would the signature need to be notarized or not? (I'm guessing that the Arizona DMV would accept an non-notarized signature on a Washington title but I'm not positive.)

CL Pgh
01-16-2012, 04:35 PM
PA... Yep!

ohiobuckeyes
01-16-2012, 04:38 PM
Yes in the State of Ohio All Title's must be notarized. MSO's must be notarized for Dealer Trades (Ingoing and Outgoing) and New Vehicle Purchases. Title App's and Power of Attorney, along with Affidavit for Vehicle purchase to an Out of State Resident is also notarized, the only item not Notarized is your Odometer statement. In Ohio a Notary term is only for 5 Years, if your an Attorney you are given a Lifetime Term. My rule is I have to see someone sign it or a dealership employee witness them sign, and I only Notarize Automotive Titles Nothing for the general public. The Notary can charge you for there service but anything above $3 must be giving back to the state.

XDCX
01-16-2012, 04:56 PM
In Ohio a Notary term is only for 5 Years, if your an Attorney you are given a Lifetime Term.

I'm not sure I understand. After your five years are up can you go for another five year term or are you no longer eligible to be a notary?

The Notary can charge you for there service but anything above $3 must be giving back to the state.

Wow, I've never heard of that before. I doubt the state of Ohio gets too much revenue from that requirement. :rolleyes:

ohiobuckeyes
01-16-2012, 06:03 PM
I'm not sure I understand. After your five years are up can you go for another five year term or are you no longer eligible to be a notary?


You have to renew your commission or your out as a notary and if you notarize anything your breaking the law.

March88toDecember05
01-17-2012, 03:37 PM
That may be true but the only ones making any money are the Notary Publics. (Maybe the state makes some money on licensing the notaries but it can't be much.)

...On Craigslist there are ads for Notary Publics who are mobile and will notarize a signature on-sight for $30 - I guess that's always an option.

NY does not require a notary public to acknowledge the signature on the back of the title. The Notary Public is hardly making a windfall on this type of thing. Notaries Public are allowed under NY state law to charge a nominal fee (such a small amount that it is hardly even worth it). I am guessing that in these Craigslist ads (depending on state laws which are likely similar to NY) the fee charged is broken down in some way, e.g. $2.00 for the acknowledgment & $28.00 travel fee). Additionally, in NY Notaries Public bear significant personal liability for negligently or falsely acknowledging signatures. Again, hardly worth the small fee to justify "making a business" out of it.

XDCX
01-18-2012, 10:21 AM
Mind you, I was never asked to show any form of ID when I was doing my paperwork, so as far as requiring notary service reducing forgery, I fail to see how the extra step does anything but require more work for all involved...

That's classic - someone notarizes your signature but they don't ask for ID. What a waste of time and resources.

XDCX
01-18-2012, 10:29 AM
NY does not require a notary public to acknowledge the signature on the back of the title. The Notary Public is hardly making a windfall on this type of thing. Notaries Public are allowed under NY state law to charge a nominal fee (such a small amount that it is hardly even worth it). I am guessing that in these Craigslist ads (depending on state laws which are likely similar to NY) the fee charged is broken down in some way, e.g. $2.00 for the acknowledgment & $28.00 travel fee). Additionally, in NY Notaries Public bear significant personal liability for negligently or falsely acknowledging signatures. Again, hardly worth the small fee to justify "making a business" out of it.

Thanks for the information. I agree with your point that for the minimal fee you're allowed to collect in New York it's not worth the liability to be a Notary Public.

That said, I'm betting it's a viable business for Notary Publics who are willing to skirt the law in Arizona. Maybe I'm wrong, but the impression I get is there are a lot of undocumented workers in Arizona and I don't think they'd be willing (or able) to go to a bank or some other formal business and have their signature notarized. Like most things that are government controlled, I wouldn't be surprised to learn there's a "black market" to address Arizona's notary requirement.

XDCX
01-18-2012, 04:26 PM
I know I'm probably beating a dead horse but in the real world does the requirement of a notarized signature on a vehicle title really reduce forgery or fraud?

As mr4t60e mentioned above he had his signature notarized and no one ever asked him for his ID. :rolleyes:

And even if ID was required, what prevents the the criminal element from getting fake ID or falsifying a notary stamp?

Sorry for the rant but the whole notary requirement just seems like a waste of resources to me. :mad:

mr4t60e
01-18-2012, 08:27 PM
I know I'm probably beating a dead horse but in the real world does the requirement of a notarized signature on a vehicle title really reduce forgery or fraud?

As mr4t60e mentioned above he had his signature notarized and no one ever asked him for his ID. :rolleyes:

And even if ID was required, what prevents the the criminal element from getting fake ID or falsifying a notary stamp?

Sorry for the rant but the whole notary requirement just seems like a waste of resources to me. :mad:

That was what I wondered myself. Michigan does not require any sort of notary service for title transfer, but I took the advice of the sell of the car I bought as cheap insurance against some dim-witted MI secretary of not allowing a transfer and requiring me to drive back to PA. Now I'm sure I look like an honest guy but if I were the notary, I think I'd be interested in making sure the ID matched the signature. Instead, the PA notary got all bent out of shape about issuing a transit tag with Michigan insurance because the policy declaration looked different than what they were used to seeing.

DealerEx
01-18-2012, 11:54 PM
Not required in Texas...it was for years, but finally did away with it sometime in the 90's

57years
01-19-2012, 07:10 AM
NP required in KY and the big thing is it "scares" the begebius out of the girls in the office so they do not do non company signatures or titles. If we get an estate or divorce involved title, they make extra effort to be sure the proper party (with apprpriate authorization) is signing. I feel like it does protect the company's interest, although I doubt the NP requirement does anything outside a licensed dealer's building. If removed, I think titles would be less scrutinized and the process less self-protective for a legitimate dealer. My comment is worth what you paid for it!

Lakeshow
01-19-2012, 11:39 AM
Required in MT, we have two on staff that we pay for renewals every five years. That way there is usually at least one in the building at most times.

XDCX
01-19-2012, 12:16 PM
Not required in Texas...it was for years, but finally did away with it sometime in the 90's

Thanks for the information - that's good to know.

I wonder if the New Car and Used Car Dealer Associations would support Arizona following Texas' lead and dropping the notary requirement?

On a side note, why were you posting to the forum after midnight? A little insomnia perhaps? :sleep:

XDCX
01-19-2012, 12:27 PM
NP required in KY and the big thing is it "scares" the begebius out of the girls in the office so they do not do non company signatures or titles. If we get an estate or divorce involved title, they make extra effort to be sure the proper party (with apprpriate authorization) is signing. I feel like it does protect the company's interest, although I doubt the NP requirement does anything outside a licensed dealer's building. If removed, I think titles would be less scrutinized and the process less self-protective for a legitimate dealer. My comment is worth what you paid for it!

I value your opinion and thank you for providing it. :)

Maybe I'm jaded but the impression I get is the notary requirement gives the general public the image that the state has a firm grip on forgery/fraud but I doubt it makes any difference to the criminal element.

On a side note, I give you props for using the work "begebius" in your post - prior to today I don't think I've ever seen that word in print before. :cool: (I've said "begebius" before but I'm convinced I never would have been able to spell it.)

57years
01-19-2012, 12:32 PM
My Dad said it so many times, I thought it was my middle name!!!

DealerEx
01-19-2012, 01:33 PM
Thanks for the information - that's good to know.

I wonder if the New Car and Used Car Dealer Associations would support Arizona following Texas' lead and dropping the notary requirement?

On a side note, why were you posting to the forum after midnight? A little insomnia perhaps? :sleep:

lol...nope, normal for me...just never slept much. I usually go to bed around 12:30 to 1:45am and wake up from 5:45 to 6:15am...haven't used an alarm clock in 20 years. back in my 20's and 30's I played in 2 poker games each week...one that I ran in a motel room on Teusday night that went from 7pm until 4am (i'd go home, sleep a couple of hours and be at work at 8am), and another big game at a ranch about 20 miles away. The ranch game started at 10pm on Friday night and sometimes ran until Monday morning...players from 100 mile radius. I'd play until daylight on Saturday, drive home, shower and shave and go to dealership until 2pm, go home, take a 2 hour nap and head back to game. Ahhhhh the stamina of youth!

March88toDecember05
01-20-2012, 11:27 AM
Call me a skeptic, but I have a hard time seeing how Arizona's requirement for notarized signatures cuts down of fraud or forgery. In my eyes if someone's going to break the law by forging a signature they probably don't have an issue by taking the extra step and falsifying the notary stamp.

This thread got me thinking about the idea of a national, uniform title regime wherein instead of 50 states issuing titles, there would be a national systme in place. I think that this idea has been bandied by NADA and other associations off and on over the years to combat title fraud/salvage cars/odometer fraud, etc.

I believe that XDCX is right, if someone is inclined to break the law, a notary stamp is not going to stop him - I am not even sure that a nation system would be foolproof, but it surely would help.

I came across this web site during an Internet search on this subject. It is interesting and I did not even know that it existed until now. http://www.vehiclehistory.gov/

XDCX
01-20-2012, 02:58 PM
This thread got me thinking about the idea of a national, uniform title regime wherein instead of 50 states issuing titles, there would be a national systme in place. I think that this idea has been bandied by NADA and other associations off and on over the years to combat title fraud/salvage cars/odometer fraud, etc.

We are on exactly the same page.

While I hate big government I think vehicle titling is an example of a governmental process that would be much more efficient if it were handled on a Federal basis. I'd love to see all paper titles eliminated and go to a system like California has with electronic titles. (It's like paper checks, who uses those anymore?)

Title washing and vehicle cloning could be brought to an end if titles were issued on a Federal level.


I came across this web site during an Internet search on this subject. It is interesting and I did not even know that it existed until now. http://www.vehiclehistory.gov/

I didn't know it existed either - I wonder if this is the same thing as the "Katrina Database" the government was going to maintain?

I also thought it was interesting to learn that dealers in California must run their used cars through the NMVTIS database before offering the vehicle for sale.

WheelKinetics.com
05-29-2013, 01:42 PM
I know this topic is old, but since I'm an attorney and dealership owner, I tend to be a nerd on these things.

AZ MVD Policy 10.5.3.EE: Licensed Arizona dealers (or the dealer’s agents) are authorized to acknowledge signatures on title transactions for vehicles that are sold by or traded to the dealer.

AKA no notary is needed.

XDCX
05-29-2013, 03:03 PM
I know this topic is old, but since I'm an attorney and dealership owner, I tend to be a nerd on these things.

AZ MVD Policy 10.5.3.EE: Licensed Arizona dealers (or the dealerís agents) are authorized to acknowledge signatures on title transactions for vehicles that are sold by or traded to the dealer.

AKA no notary is needed.

WheelKinetics.com - First post - Welcome to DealershipForum :wave:

Thanks for the information concerning the AZ MVD policy - I would have lost money on that bet. It was always my understanding that all title transaction in AZ had to be notarized - even if the transaction involved a dealership.

This is a great example of where I'm happy to be wrong. Thanks for taking the time to register with the site and correct my misunderstanding of the AZ title requirements.

On a different note, one of the coolest dealers I ever knew was an attorney. On occasion he'd lament that he hated attorneys even though he was one..... :rolleyes:

chryslersrt8
05-31-2013, 08:14 AM
A friend of mine who works for FEMA told me that a notary is one of the most lucrative jobs in Louisiana. She worked there assisting with Katrina a few years ago and said it slowed down the whole clean up process as each property couldn't just be handed down from generation to generation. It had to be notarized. Since most small, old properties were just handed down, the ownership proof slowed down dramatically, and many properties never got a help as a result.

XDCX
05-31-2013, 01:57 PM
A friend of mine who works for FEMA told me that a notary is one of the most lucrative jobs in Louisiana. She worked there assisting with Katrina a few years ago and said it slowed down the whole clean up process as each property couldn't just be handed down from generation to generation. It had to be notarized. Since most small, old properties were just handed down, the ownership proof slowed down dramatically, and many properties never got a help as a result.

Interesting example.

As before, I'm convinced that people who are inclined to steal or deceive are still going to do their evil deeds regardless of whether a notary is required as part of the process.
In my opinion the notary requirement is simply a bureaucratic process meant to give the illusion that government has procedures in place to catch people who intend to break the law.