Titling - Personal Bankruptcy - Sale to New Owner

I am a court appointed trustee of a personal bankruptcy estate.  What do I need to provide to the buyer of a vehicle being sold from the estate?

Provide the buyer with the following:

  • Proof of ownership – This may be a Maryland Certificate of Title or a title issued by another state.  When you sign the title assigning ownership of the vehicle to the buyer, be sure to write the word “trustee” after your signature.  If the Maryland title is not available, you must first obtain a duplicate title.
  • Court order appointing you as the trustee of the estate – A copy of the court order is sufficient.

How do I title a vehicle that I purchased from the trustee of a personal bankruptcy estate?

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 MVA licensedtag and title service where they will assist you in applying.

Typically, the title application documents needed (along with payment for taxes and fees) include:

  • Proof of ownership – You must submit the vehicle’s current title that has been properly assigned to you by the court appointed trustee of the estate, as the seller.  Note that if the title was issued in Maryland, it can be used as your application form for titling and registering the vehicle.  You don’t also need to complete a separate Application for Certificate of Title.
  • Court order appointing the trustee of the bankruptcy estate – A copy of the court order is sufficient.
  • 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.   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).  The bill of sale must be notarized if the following conditions apply:
    • the vehicle is less than 7 years old; and
    • your purchase price is at least $500 below its NADA book value; and
    • you, the new owner, want 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 must be recorded by the seller and attested to in the section entitled Assignment of Ownership.  The seller also can submit the MVA’s Odometer Disclosure Statement.
  • Maryland Safety Inspection Certificate - This Maryland State Police form certifies that your vehicle meets Maryland safety standards and must be submitted before you can register the vehicle.  It is valid for up to 90 days from the date issued.

Under certain circumstances, additional information and/or forms may be required:

  • Lien information – If you borrowed money to buy the vehicle, the lien information must be recorded on the application. The MVA form entitled Security Interest​ Filing 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 the vehicle, or if the court order appointing the estate’s trustee mandates the transfer and issuance of title “free and clear of existing liens” a lien release is required from the lending institution.  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.
  • Power of attorney - If someone other than you, the new owner, is signing the titling forms, this document is required.

Note that if you also intend to register the vehicle, additional forms may be 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.  If your vehicle is unusual, access the infoMVA homepage to find the applicable registration description.

Your title will be mailed to you regardless of how you apply for it. If you also register the vehicle, your registration card, license plates and expiration stickers can be provided immediately when you apply in person to the MVA; otherwise, these items also will be mailed to you.

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.


Contact Information:

Mail In Title Unit
6601 Ritchie Highway, NE
Glen Burnie, MD 21062

For telephone questions:
MVA Customer Service Center:     1-410-768-7000
TTY/Hearing Impaired:                    1-301-729-4563