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Lucy, Esq.
Lucy, Esq., Attorney
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Experience:  Lawyer
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I live in California. Can I give my vehicle (current value

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I live in California. Can I give my vehicle (current value $36,000) to a friend in exchange for nothing? essentially just give it to him as a gift. Will there be any issues for me or the new owner from a liability stand point? Do i make a bill of sale or draft a letter stating that i gifted it to him? Can someone please explain the legal steps i need to take to ensure I am covered from anything bad happening.

My name is XXXXX XXXXX I'd be happy to answer your questions today.

If you just want to give a gift to your friend, all that is necessary is that you sign the title over to him. From a legal perspective, there is only an issue if there is any evidence that the vehicle was transferred to avoid a legal obligation, such as to keep it out of the reach of creditors. A writing stating that you are giving him the vehicle as a gift could protect you if any issues arise later, signed by both of you, but it's not required if you have all the other required documentation.

You're also required to complete a Vehicle Vessel Transfer and Reassignment Form (Form REG 262). If you call the DMV at 1-800-777-0133, they will mail a copy of the form to you. It's printed on special paper, so you unfortunately cannot just download it. The form is filed with the DMV. If you are not the only seller listed on the title, you'll need to produce the REG 262 you got when you bought the car. Then, you have to do an odometer disclosure (there are some exceptions, outlined at the following link). The mileage is usually stated on the REG 262 or on the title itself.

To protect yourself, you also are required to submit a Notice of Transfer and Release of Liability. This lets the DMV know that you have given the car to someone else and are no longer the legal owner. You can print and mail in the form, or complete it online.

If you have any questions or concerns about what I've written, please reply so that I may address them. It's important to me that you are 100% satisfied with the service I provide. Otherwise, please rate my service positively so that I get credit for answering your question. Thank you.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thanks so much for the info, i just have one last question. I may end up charging my friend a small amount for the vehicle in which case i will make a bill of sale, my question is what is the required info i should have on the bill of sale? And if i scan and email the bill of sale to the new owner (who is out of state) will that be still valid or does he need an original physical copy?

If you do decide to charge him, then there would usually be something in writing that states the sales price, to protect you in case he decides not to pay. It's best to have something signed by both parties.

He'll need the original title to register the vehicle, with your original signature. As far as a bill of sale or a contract, if he'll accept a scanned, emailed document that you signed, then it should be fine to prove that you had an agreement.
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