Is there a way to get an old vehicle title after the state has it?
August 22, 2020 1:56 PM   Subscribe

Is there a way to get an old vehicle title after a vehicle has changed ownership/title surrendered to the DMV? Backstory under the fold...

A friend's parent recently passed away. She wants to put his signature - the "fancy" version - on a piece of jewelry. The only place she can think of where he signed it the "fancy" way was on the title to his vehicle, which she inherited. Unfortunately, she has already gone to her local DMV and surrendered the title in order to transfer the title to her name.

Do DMVs keep old titles after a change in ownership? She only went to the DMV a month ago, so it is pretty recent.

She has been pretty thorough looking for other versions of his "fancy" signature - everywhere else he mostly scrawled his name so it looks like this is likely one of her only options.
posted by arnicae to Grab Bag (4 answers total)
 
I am not aware of any state in the US that will send you a photocopy of a surrendered vehicle title (although some might, upon request, issue a letter verifying the title was surrendered and this letter might include details from the surrendered title). Is it possible that his "fancy" signature might be on a marriage certificate? It seems more likely that she could get a copy of his marriage certificate — try contacting the office of the county clerk for the county in which he was married.
posted by RichardP at 2:26 PM on August 22, 2020


I've got no ideas for ordering the old vehicle title, but maybe he took a photograph of it, as part of a 'digitally-scanned important document' file outfits like the AARP were recommending a few years back? (Other ideas: check the signature on his driver's license, old checkbooks w/carbon copies, cancelled checks, & copies of old contracts.)
posted by Iris Gambol at 3:07 PM on August 22, 2020


Tell a sob story to your local news TV/paper and hit up your local Mayor or City Council, or the head of your local DMV. If they still have it somewhere, scanned or filed away in a box sitting in a warehouse... playing on the sympathy and good optics of the establishment is worth a shot.
posted by zengargoyle at 8:20 PM on August 22, 2020


Try the personal approach. Call them, talk to someone, explain. They shouldn't send you someone's signature, for security reasons, but you never know.
posted by theora55 at 5:39 AM on August 23, 2020


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