What is the procedure for offering or gifting a vehicle?


Q: I received a car as a gift, but I’m not sure who should notarize the letter of donation. Is it the giver or the receiver?

— Eric T.

A: The person who writes the gift letter gets their signature notarized. If it is an immediate family member, the donation letter does not need to be notarized. An immediate family member according to the RI Division of Taxation is defined as a parent, step-parent, sibling, half-brother, spouse, child, or step-son.

We have a whole space on our site (www.dmv.ri.gov) on vehicles given as gifts. It can be found in the “Registration, plates and titles” tab, under “Registration” and “New registrations”. There, the forms needed for this transaction can be found and printed. In addition, you will need a TR-1 Claim and Sales Tax Exemption Form.

Q: I want to leave my car to my son in my will. Please let me know what steps to take, if any.

—Sheryl B.

A: You should consult a lawyer about your will and its contents.

The DMV has a section on our website (www.dmv.ri.gov) on “Transfer on death”. It can be found in the “Registration, plates and titles” tab under “Transfers” then “Transfer on death”.

There are four scenarios, and your son will have to adapt to one of them. Then, depending on the year of the vehicle, it would follow those instructions. All of the forms needed to complete your transaction can also be found and printed from our website.

Chuck Hollis is an assistant administrator for the Rhode Island Division of Motor Vehicles. Please send your questions to [email protected] with “Ask the DMV” in the subject field.

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