A motor vehicle power of attorney is a legal document that grants an appointed individual (or agent) permission to perform specific tasks on behalf of the motor vehicle owner (or principal), such as sales, registration, and titling.
Every state has different legal requirements for motor vehicle power of attorney forms, so make sure your document is in accordance with your local laws and regulations.
When to Use
You may use a power of attorney form to sell or register a vehicle, obtain a duplicate title, conduct certain repairs or maintenance, or pursue an insurance claim for the owner.
Below are explanations of some of the most common uses of a power of attorney for vehicle transactions.
1. Ownership Transfer
The document lets you transfer responsibility for selling the vehicle to an agent or trustworthy person of your choosing. For instance, if you turn your car over to an agency so they can carry out the transaction on your behalf, they may request a power of attorney vehicle form as part of the contract.
Therefore, you ensure that the seller is obligated to provide you with the proceeds of the car sale. The alternative would be to sign your title to the agent, in which case you risk not being paid for the sale.
2. Registration (DMV)
If you co-own the vehicle, you may use a motor vehicle power of attorney to allow one owner to handle all the tasks related to vehicle use and maintenance.
For instance, if you are the primary operator but have a co-signer on your auto loan, you may need a power of attorney form to register the vehicle at the DMV each year without soliciting the co-signer’s signature every time.
3. Duplicate Title Certificate Application
If the title has been lost, destroyed, or damaged, you may need to apply for a duplicate certificate of title.
If you are selling your vehicle through another person or organization but do not have a valid title, you may give the agent power of attorney to obtain a replacement title so they can complete the sale.
4. Repairs and Maintenance
You may transfer powers to a representative so they can approve repairs and maintenance on the vehicle.
For example, if an elderly person’s grown child takes their car in for regular maintenance and repair visits, they may need power of attorney to authorize those tasks.
5. Insurance-Related Matters
After a car accident, your insurance company may ask you to complete a power of attorney form. Usually, if a vehicle is totaled, the insurance company will pay out the claim and sell the totaled vehicle for salvage.
By granting them authority, you do not have to sign a form or actively participate in every transaction related to your totaled vehicle.
Exception: As provided by 49 CFR § 580.13, if the disclosed mileage on the power of attorney is lower than that on the title, the former becomes void unless the transferor includes a statement about exceeding mechanical limits or the odometer not reflecting the actual mileage.
How to Use a Vehicle Power of Attorney
To ensure optimal results, the principal should take the following steps when assigning vehicle power of attorney forms:
Step 1: Collect Vehicle Information
The principal will need the vehicle make, model, color, vehicle identification number (VIN), and trim. They will have to collect the certificate of title, proof of insurance, license plates, and any other documents required by the DMV. An odometer reading may also be necessary.
This data will be used for owner certification and vehicle information verification.
Step 2: Select the Agent and Their Powers
Identifying the person or agency receiving power of attorney for the motor vehicle is another important step. Depending on the principal’s state, they may need to write the agent’s name, mailing address, date of birth, social security number or federal ID number, and contact details.
The authority granted to the agent is then delineated through your document. This may be a general form for all tasks related to the vehicle for an indefinite period or a limited power of attorney tailored to a specific situation.
Powers Included in a Vehicle Power of Attorney
- Vehicle registration
- Transfer of title and ownership (documented by the vehicle bill of sale)
- Duplicate title request
- Vehicle maintenance and repairs
Step 3: Create the Power of Attorney Form and Enter the Details
Generally, a vehicle power of attorney should include the following elements:
- Name, date of birth, mailing address of the principal
- Name of the agent assigned power of attorney
- Vehicle description, including year, make, model, style, VIN, and odometer reading
The DMV offices often have their own form that is required and they won’t always accept externally drafted ones.
Some states also mandate a licensed technician to show proof of the vehicle description, so it is advisable to check applicable state requirements before completing a vehicle power of attorney.
Step 4: Sign
Once the form is ready, it must be signed and dated by the current owner or principal.
Step 5: Notarize
The parties shouldn’t sign before consulting local regulations, as most states require witness signatures or the acknowledgment of a notary public (a process facilitated through The American Association of Notaries). If it is not clearly specified, consider including a notary acknowledgment form.
Step 6: Use at the DMV
After filling out, signing, and notarizing the form, the assigned representative can present it at the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) or equivalent state agency for the purposes authorized by the power of attorney.
|Alabama||Notary Public||MVT 5-13|
|Arkansas||N/A||Power of attorney for vehicle transactions|
|California||Principal Only||REG 260|
|Colorado||Notary Public||DR 2175|
|Connecticut||Notary Public and 2 Witness||A-83|
|District of Columbia||Principal and Agent||DMV-VSPA-01|
|Florida||Principal Only||HSMV 82053|
|Hawaii||Notary Public||CS-L(MVR) 38A - Seller Power of Attorney and Buyer Power of Attorney|
|Idaho||Notary Public (if applying for duplicate title)||ITD 3368|
|Kentucky||Notary Public||TC 96-336|
|Louisiana||Notary Public||Vehicle Power of Attorney|
|Maine||Notary Public and Certified Technician||Vehicle Power of Attorney|
|Massachusetts||Notary Public and Certified Technician||Vehicle Power of Attorney|
|Minnesota||Notary Public and Certified Technician||Vehicle Power of Attorney|
|Missouri||Notary Public (not required if signing electronically)||4054|
|Nebraska||Notary Public||Vehicle Power of Attorney|
|New Hampshire||Notary Public||Vehicle Power of Attorney|
|New Jersey||Notary Public and Certified Technician||Vehicle Power of Attorney|
|New Mexico||Notary Public||MVD-11020|
|New York||Notary Public||Vehicle Power of Attorney|
|North Carolina||Notary Public||MVR-63|
|North Dakota||Notary Public and Certified Technician||Vehicle Power of Attorney|
|Ohio||Notary Public||BMV 3771|
|Oklahoma||Notary Public and Certified Technician||Vehicle Power of Attorney|
|Pennsylvania||Notary Public||Vehicle Power of Attorney|
|Rhode Island||Notary Public and Certified Technician||Vehicle Power of Attorney|
|South Carolina||Notary Public||MC-25|
|South Dakota||Notary Public||1023|
|Utah||Notary Public and Certified Technician||Vehicle Power of Attorney|
|Vermont||Notary Public and Certified Technician||Vehicle Power of Attorney|
|Virginia||Principal Only||VSA 70|
|West Virginia||Principal Only||DMV-9-TR|
|Wisconsin||Notary Public and Certified Technician||Vehicle Power of Attorney|
|Wyoming||Notary Public||WYDOT Limited Power of Attorney|
Motor Vehicle Power of Attorney Sample
Download a fillable motor vehicle power of attorney template below in PDF or Word format.