Wheels For Wishes Home

California Vehicle Donation Title Questions and Helpful Information

Click here to donate a car in California, benefiting Make-A-Wish kids!

Looking for some help with transferring your car title or donating a car in California? Here is the ultimate guide to California title questions:

Q:Where do I sign the Title?

A:The person(s) listed on the Title as the Register owner(s) of the vehicle must sign on line 1a and 1b. Signature(s) also are required in the certify under penalty section.

California Title Example


Q:I paid off my car but there is still a lienholder listed?

The lienholder should have provided a Lien Release or completed the Lien Release section on Title when it was paid off. If a Lien Release is required please contact your financial institution. We will request one if necessary directly from the bank or other financial institution on your behalf but may need a written authorization and copy of your driver’s license.

Q:What do I put down for the Buyer?

A:We prefer it be left blank along with the odometer reading as the processing partner will record the exact reading at time of processing and handle the buyer and dealer license information.

Information that is provided by the processing partner may be put in the buyer section.

Q:Can I still donate if I can’t find my Title?

A:We will still attempt to process your donation without the title, though the process may be a bit more complicated.

Q:I’m donating the vehicle on behalf of Deceased loved one, what do I need to provide?

A:If there are no probate proceedings:
You will need to sign an Affidavit for Transfer without Probate (form REG.5) https://www.dmv.ca.gov/portal/wcm/connect/e4aef797-a865-4481-ab31-586e8f6c7052/reg5.pdf?MOD=AJPERES

The next of kin or surviving spouse must sign both the name of deceased and their own name.

In most cases a copy of the death certificate and picture id is required.

If there was a probate proceeding:
You will need certified copies of the probate papers from the court and either the vehicle Title or CA REG.227 form. The executor must sign both the name of the deceased and their own name

Q:How do I release the liability and what do I do with my plates?

A:If the release of liability is still attached to the bottom of the Title, you can remove it and mail it back to the CA DMV.

Otherwise, complete this on-line form: http://www.dmv.ca.gov/portal/dmv/detail/online/nrl/welcome

Please note: In most cases a Release of Liability will be completed by the auction house when a vehicle is donated and when sold. If you complete this form, please see the Buyer information above for the address.

Also, License Plates are not required to be returned to the DMV, but you may remove them prior to the vehicle being picked up. *Do not remove plates if parked on a public street to avoid city citations*

Q:Will you take a vehicle that has mechanical problems?

A:Vehicles are reviewed and sent to a processing partner, however if we are unable to find a buyer for the vehicle, we will have to unfortunately decline the donation.

*Boats, RV’s, ATV, Campers or industrial equipment are taken on a case by case basis*

If you'd like to donate a car in California check out our California car donation page.

Click here to go back to our Title FAQ or call our Title Department at 1-855-492-9474

Check out our guide for all 50 states on if you can donate your car with no title.

Excellent 9.3 out of 10
CDF also runs the following programs:
Wheels for Wishes benefiting Make-A-Wish®, Wheels for Wishes & Wellness benefiting local children's hospitals and charities, Vehicles for Veterans benefiting disabled veterans, and Animal Car Donation benefiting animal rescue organizations.

Read More
CDF's mission is to help these benefitting charities fulfill their missions with proceeds from CDF's car donation programs. CDF and all benefitting charities are separate and unaffiliated 501c organizations.
© 2009 - 2024 Wheels For Wishes (Car Donation Foundation)
A federally registered 501(c)(3) non-profit organization