Selling a Car Without the Owner’s Presence: A How-To Guide

Whether you’re selling a vehicle for a friend or family member, or you’ve inherited a car that needs a new owner, this guide will provide you with the essential steps and tips to ensure a successful transaction. Read on to become an expert in selling a car without the owner’s presence.

A power of attorney to sell a car is a legal document that grants someone the authority to act on behalf of the car owner in selling their vehicle. This document is typically used in situations where the owner is unable to personally handle the sale, such as due to illness, travel, or other commitments. The person granted the power of attorney, known as the agent, will have the ability to negotiate the terms of the sale, complete the necessary paperwork, and transfer the title to the buyer. However, it is crucial for both the car owner and the agent to understand the specific powers and limitations outlined in the power of attorney document before proceeding with the sale. Additionally, it is advisable to consult with a legal professional to ensure that all legal requirements are met and to protect the interests of both parties involved.


A Power of Attorney, often referred to as POA, is a legal instrument that grants another person the authority to act as your representative in various matters, including selling your car. This authorized individual, known as the attorney-in-fact, will step into your shoes to handle the transaction seamlessly.

Types of Power of Attorney

General POA: This type grants broad powers to your chosen representative, allowing them to perform a wide range of tasks, including selling your car.

Limited POA: Also known as a Special POA, this document limits the attorney-in-fact powers to specific actions, like selling a particular vehicle.



Anyone can engage in the car sales process without requiring specific authorization. However, if the buyer becomes aware that you are not the registered owner of the vehicle, providing a motor vehicle power of attorney can address any concerns they may have about the transaction.

Having a power of attorney becomes particularly crucial when it comes time to transfer the vehicle title to the buyer.

As per guidance from the American Bar Association, you will need to present your power of attorney document to the Department of Motor Vehicles. This document will allow the DMV to recognize your signature as a valid substitute for that of the registered owner. Aside from this requirement, the sale should proceed in a standard manner.

Documents Needed

  • Power of Attorney.
  • A valid Photo ID – U.S. driver’s license or a copy of your passport.
  • The original car title.
  • A car sale agreement written on plain paper.

If you have a friend in the USA, preferably in the same state, they can take a color print of the Power of Attorney (POA) and use it to sign your car’s title and sale agreement on your behalf.

Once your state grants you power of attorney, you can proceed to sell the car on behalf of the other person. After the car is successfully sold, the car’s owner is rightfully entitled to receive the proceeds, and you are not entitled to any compensation unless such an arrangement was explicitly outlined in the power of attorney document.


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