Titling – Placing a Vehicle into a Trust

How do I place a vehicle into a trust?

To place a vehicle in a trust, you must title the vehicle in the name of the trust. 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 offices.

The title fee, tax fee and inspection requirements vary depending on the type of trust the vehicle is being titled into.

       They are explained below:

  • Intervivous Trusts- A Maryland titled vehicle is transferred into a trust, in which the current owner of the vehicle is the primary beneficiary in the trust. An intervivous trust is a trust that is created and takes effect during the lifetime of the person who set up the trust. This type of transaction is excise tax exempt, there is no inspection, and the tags may be transferred.
  • Maryland titled vehicles transferred to a trust or gifted from a trust to a beneficiary are exempt from excise tax and title fee if: the trustee initially paid excise tax to Maryland, the relationship of the person who gave the vehicle to the trust and the beneficiary in the trust are immediate family, as specified in Maryland Vehicle Law 13-810, (c) 1, or similar to a legal heir, legatee, or distributee as in 13-810 (c) 4.  The vehicle needs to be Maryland safety inspected, and new tags must be purchased.
  • Any other type of transactions where a trust is either purchasing a vehicle, transferring an out of state title to a Maryland title into or out of the name of a trust, or transferring out of a trust is taxable, A Maryland safety inspection is required and new tags will need to be purchased.

You will need to submit the following forms:

  • Proof of ownership – This is the vehicle’s current title that has been properly assigned to the trust.
  • 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 (VR-005).
  • Application for Request for Exemption of Excise Tax and Title Fee for Qualifying Vehicle Transfers to or from a Trust (VR-478)- This form must be completed for a title assigned as a gift to or from a trust naming a beneficiary who is tax exempt under Maryland Vehicle Law 13-810(c) 1 and 4. For further information please see form VR-478.
  • Proof of purchase price – This should be a bill of sale signed by both the buyer(s) and seller(s). For non-dealer sales, the bill of sale must be on the MVA's Bill of Sale and notarized if the following conditions apply:
    • ​the vehicle is less than 7 years old;
    • the purchase price is at least $500 below the book value; and
    • the new owner (trust) wants 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 can be recorded and attested to in the section entitled Assignment of   Ownership. You also can submit an odometer disclosure statement that meets federal requirements such as the MVA Odometer Disclosure Statement
  • Maryland Inspection Certificate – This form certifies that your vehicle meets Maryland safety standards and is valid for up to 90 days from the date issued. A safety inspection may not be required if the vehicle is being placed into a living (inter vivos) trust.
  • Copies of certain pages in the trust agreement – Only copies of the pages in the agreement that name the trust, identify the trustee (trust owner) and primary beneficiary, and include the signature and seal must be submitted. This is typically the first and last page of the trust agreement.

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

  • Lien information – If you borrowed money to buy the vehicle, the lien information may need to be recorded on the application for certificate of title using the VR-005, or the back of the Maryland title. The MVA form entitled Security ​Interest Filing (form #VR-217) 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 it, you must submit a lien release. 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 the lien has been released.
  • Lien transfer letter (if applicable) – This letter must be submitted on the lien holder’s letterhead and must state that the lien can be transferred onto the new title (trust).
  • Power of attorney – If someone other than yourself (the new owner) is signing the titling forms for you, this document is required.

If you also intend to register the vehicle, additional forms are 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

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


How do I title a vehicle that has been left in trust for me?

If you have been left a vehicle in trust, you are not required to re-title the vehicle. You may legally drive it while it is titled in the trust's name. However, if you choose to title the vehicle in your name, different rules apply. For more information, please see Titling – Vehicle Purchased from a Non-Dealer. In most cases you will be charged excise tax for this transaction, based on the vehicle's value. In addition, a Maryland Safety Inspection Certificate may be required before registering the vehicle in your name.

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