Vehicle Industry Registration Procedures Manual

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Section 2 of 38

Chapter 1: General Registration Information

1.035 Co-Owners (VC §§4150.5 and 9852.5)

A vehicle or vessel may be owned by two or more co-owners. Co-owner names may be joined by “and”, “and/or”, or “or”. All owners must endorse the title or registration application to register the vehicle/vessel, but the requirements for releasing ownership vary. Refer to Chapter 11.

Certificates issued for applications not indicating “and” or “or” between the names will show “and” as represented by a slash (/) between the names.

  • The signatures of all owners are required to transfer ownership when the co-owner names are joined by “and”. Ownership passes to the surviving co-owner upon the death of a co-owner or, with the surviving co-owner’s release, to a new owner. A deceased co-owner’s interest may only be released by one of the following:
  • The signature of only one owner is required to transfer ownership when the co-owner names are joined by “and/or” or “or”. A surviving co-owner’s signature on the title releases all owners’ interest unless “Tenants in Common” or “COMPRO” follows the co-owner’s names.
  • A REG 5 cannot be used to circumvent the interest of a surviving owner when the vehicles are jointly owned by two or more persons and one of the owners is deceased. However, the surviving owner (if they are the heir) may complete a REG 5 to release the interest of the deceased owner. The California Certificate of Title must be signed twice, once by surviving owner and once for the deceased owner countersigned by the heir. If owned jointly by two or more deceased owners, a REG 5 for the most recently deceased owner and a death certificate for each owner is required.

Tenants in Common—When “Tenants in Common” follows the names of co-owners, the interest of a deceased co-owner reverts to the deceased co-owner’s estate, not to the surviving co-owner. Ownership may be transferred with Letters Testamentary, Letters of Administration, or an Affidavit for Transfer Without Probate California Titled Vehicle or Vessels Only (REG 5) form.

COMPRO—When “COMPRO” (community property) follows the names of co-owners, ownership passes to the surviving owner after the deceased co-owner’s interest is executed by the:

  • Heir of the deceased with a REG 5, if the estate was not probated.
  • Administrator of the estate with Letters of Administration.
  • Executor of the estate with Letters Testamentary.

Ownership may be transferred to a new owner with the surviving co-owner’s release.

JTRS—When “JTRS” (joint tenants with right of survivorship) follows the names
of co-owners:

  • All owners must release interest during the lifetime of the co-owners.
  • Upon the death of an owner, interest is released by the surviving co-owner.
  • A copy of the deceased owner’s death certificate must accompany the application.
  • The signature of the surviving co-owner(s) on the title releases all owner interests.

TOD (Transfer on Death)—Refer to Chapter 11.