How To Write A Bill of Sale

A Bill of Sale (also known as a Bill of Sale template or Bill of Sale form) is a legal document that transfers ownership of personal property from a seller to a buyer. Some Bill of Sale documents are only used to transfer personal property, like furniture and equipment. Others can be used to transfer larger and typically more expensive types of personal property, like cars, boats, or motorcycles. For these types of items, using a Vehicle or Car Bill of Sale, Boat Bill of Sale, or a Motorcycle Bill of Sale form is best because these documents will typically require more information to transfer the property.  

If the property has been guaranteed as security for a loan, it may be necessary to obtain a release from the party to whom the loan is owed. In such cases, it is advisable to consult with a lawyer.

Here are some of the most common clauses in a Bill of Sale.

Price

The price section of a Bill of Sale describes the full amount of money paid for the property transfer, as agreed upon by the seller and buyer. The transfer price will depend upon the type of property being sold or transferred and any special or custom terms agreed upon by the parties.  

The price may or may not include applicable sales tax. There may be an option to specify whether or not sales tax will be included in the total price. The amount of sales tax is different in each state and can vary depending on the goods being sold. Sellers may want to check local laws to determine the amount of sales tax that will apply to their transaction and whether or not to include that price in the total price. 

Seller

Information about the seller in a Bill of Sale may include both the seller’s name and address. If the seller is an individual, the seller may be described as an individual and their home address included in the Bill of Sale form, unless the parties agree otherwise.  

If the seller is a company, the Bill of Sale may state the company’s legal entity, such as a partnership, limited liability company, or corporation, along with the address for the company’s principal place of business, unless the parties agree otherwise.

Buyer / Purchaser

When describing the buyer or purchaser, a Bill of Sale may include both their name and address. If the buyer or purchaser is an individual, they may be designated as an individual and their home address included in the document, unless the parties agree otherwise.  

If the buyer or purchaser is a company, the Bill of Sale may include the company’s legal entity, such as a partnership, limited liability company, or corporation, along with the address for the company’s principal place of business, unless the parties agree otherwise.

Description of Items or Property Being Sold

When describing the items or property being sold in a Bill of Sale template, the property may be described with specificity. For example, if the property being sold is a valuable collection of vinyl records, the seller may want to itemize the following in the Bill of Sale:

  • Number of records in the collection.
  • Title of each record in the collection.
  • Artist information for each record.
  • Recording date or release date of each record.
  • General condition of each record.

Property Being Sold As Is

If the seller is selling the property “as is,” then the Bill of Sale may specify this. For example, the seller may mention in an “as is” provision that the property is being sold in its current condition, and the buyer accepts the property as is (or with any existing flaws). In other words, the seller does not make any promises about the property in the Bill of Sale. Instead, the buyer understands that “what they get is what they see.”

When selling or transferring property as is, the Bill of Sale may not include any warranties as to the property (such as the seller warranting the condition of the property), and the seller may not guarantee the quality or condition of the property to the buyer.

Seller Warranties

A warranty section in the Bill of Sale is a promise by the seller, offering additional protections to the buyer. For example, a Bill of Sale’s warranty clause details what property is being sold and gives a guarantee (or warranty) to the buyer about the condition of the property or about the seller’s ownership rights (such as the Bill of Sale warrants that the the seller has full and clear title to the property and can legally sell or transfer the property without any legal obstacles). 

However, sellers can also include limited warranties. By including limited warranties, sellers may guarantee that they are the owner of the property and have the right to transfer ownership of the property. A seller can also guarantee that the property is free and clear of any liens and is in “good working condition.” 

Buyer Inspection

An inspection provision in a Bill of Sale gives the buyer the opportunity to inspect the property, or alternatively, have the property inspected by a third party. Additionally, the buyer agrees to accept the property in its existing condition after receiving a satisfactory inspection.

Disputes and Attorney Fees

Generally, when a legal dispute arises between the seller and the buyer, both parties pay their own attorney’s fees if the dispute carries forward to litigation (a lawsuit), mediation, or arbitration. 

However, both parties may want to check the applicable law to determine if any additional specifics must be added to the dispute/attorney’s fees section of the Bill of Sale. For example, the applicable state law may specify that the non-prevailing party shall pay the reasonable attorney’s fees of the prevailing party. 

Enforceability

Often, courts interpret a Bill of Sale as more of a receipt for the property sale than a binding contract. To ensure that the Bill of Sale can be enforced in a court of law, the seller may need to include enough specific language in the Bill of Sale to ensure its legal enforceability.

For example, sellers may want to specifically document the description of the property and the sales price (including or excluding sales tax), and also include any specific state law provisions applicable to the property sale. This may help sellers enforce the terms of the Bill of Sale if necessary.

For example, sellers may want to include the following language for enforceability:  “The terms of this Bill of Sale shall bind and inure to the benefit of the parties hereto and their respective heirs, legal representatives, successors and assigns.” 

Property Transfer Date

In the property transfer date section of the Bill of Sale template, the parties may specifically describe when the property will be transferred from the seller to the buyer. The parties may include any events that must happen first before the property is transferred, such as the buyer must satisfy all payment terms satisfactorily and/or the parties must sign and date the Bill of Sale before the property is transferred.

Seller and Buyer Signatures

The Bill of Sale should be signed by both parties. After the Bill of Sale is signed by both parties, legal ownership of the property is transferred, as of the date provided in the document, regardless of which party has possession of the property. The original copy of the Bill of Sale should be given to the buyer. The seller should retain a copy.

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Exactly what are contract amendments? How do they work?

What is a Contract Amendment?

When an agreement changes, it’s always a smart idea to document it in writing. A Contract Amendment helps you adjust certain provisions of a contract, without revoking the entire original agreement. Using a Contract Amendment saves you time because you don’t have to start from scratch. It also keeps things from getting confusing later on when potential questions come up about an out-of-date contract.

When to use a Contract Amendment:

A Contract Amendment is simple to make online. Once you’ve answered some questions, Rocket Lawyer will build your document for you. Think about the following questions before starting your Contract Amendment to make the process faster and easier:

  • What is the name of the original contract or agreement that is being amended?
  • What kinds of changes are being made to the original contract?
  • What section or provision will be edited, added, or deleted in the amended contract?
  • What will be the effective date of this amendment?
  • If you’ve started your Contract Amendment and find that you don’t have all the information you need, you can save the document and finish it later.

What is an amendment to a Real Estate Contract?

An amendment to a Real Estate Contract will allow you to change the basic terms in a contract for the purchase of real property after it has been signed and finalized.

What is it called when you make changes to a contract?

When you make changes to a contract, you can call it a Contract Amendment or Contract Modification.

What is the difference between a Contract Amendment and a Contract Modification?

A contract amendment can also be called a contract modification. They are basically the same thing.

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Draft a Prenuptial Agreement That Covers Assets, Debts, and Children.

What is a Prenuptial Agreement?

A Prenuptial Agreement is a financial contract between two people before they are married. Often called Prenups, Prenuptial Agreements are two-way contracts intended to protect both spouses’ assets and to outline who carries the burden of specific debts. These documents outline the assets and debts of each person and how these assets and debts should be managed if the relationship dissolves or a spouse dies.

Prenups are not just for the rich and famous, they are suitable for any couple who wants to responsibly manage their finances, whether they are together or separate.

When to use a Prenuptial Agreement:

  • You want to decide how assets each of you already own will be managed before you marry.
  • You want to protect you or your children’s expected inheritance.
  • You plan on taking on debt you don’t want your spouse to be liable for.
  • You want to protect a personally-owned business or business partners ask you to shield your mutually-owned business.
  • You do not want your default state laws to control the distribution of property should you divorce.

Who needs a prenup?

If you ask your accountant or lawyer, they’d both likely say everyone. If you ask a family member or friend, you might hear a different answer. If you ask someone who has experienced a difficult divorce, they will likely say everyone, as well. Many people have opinions about prenups but ultimately, it is up to you and your future spouse to decide if your marriage will benefit from having a Prenuptial Agreement.

Nowadays, financially responsible partners consider establishing a Prenuptial Agreement before any marriage. This is especially true of those entering a second or third marriage. A well thought out prenup can protect both spouses and their children.

Here are some common reasons people choose to enter a Prenuptial Agreement:

  • To protect the inheritance rights of children from a previous marriage.
  • To protect business interests, especially if you own a company with others.
  • One partner is choosing to relinquish their career and needs to be protected if the marriage dissolves.
  • In some states, spousal support amounts can be outlined in the agreement.
  • To protect pensions or retirements earned before the marriage.
  • To protect family-owned properties such as an inherited home.
  • To separate debt obligations acquired after the marriage.
  • To shelter one person from the debt the other accumulated before marriage.
  • They want to decide what happens after a divorce rather than being subject to default state divorce laws.
  • To establish agreements amicably and fairly while relations are supportive and positive.
  • Net worth or earning potential vary greatly between the spouses and they want to build fair financial protections for both.
  • There is a large age difference between the partners and the older person’s retirement and long-term healthcare requirements need to be protected.

When should I use a Prenuptial Agreement?

Prenuptial Agreements are two-sided contracts signed before a couple is married. It outlines each spouse’s assets and debts, and expected future assets and debts, and how they will be managed if the partners choose to part ways, voluntarily or by death.

Prenups are most commonly used when: 

  • You are contemplating marriage and wish to explain the rights and obligations of each person regarding property.
  • You own significant amounts of property.
  • You have previously been married.
  • You have children from a prior marriage.

What financial information is included in a prenup?

While some young couples have not yet accumulated a lot of assets and debt, many couples these days do. Statistics are even showing that since millennials are getting married older than previous generations, they have more to bring to the marriage than they would have if they married ten years younger. Some unmarried people have spent a lot of time building their own business, assets and retirement accounts, and some have also amassed a volume of debt such as student loans, credit card debt, mortgages or tax debt. Whether assets or debt, all clean or dirty financial laundry will need to be aired to create a comprehensive Prenuptial Agreement. Even if you have an asset such as a pension that you plan on retaining for yourself, you still need to reveal that it exists. It is also smart to view and share your current credit reports to ensure that you are not missing a debt and can see what each other’s credit worthiness currently is.

What are the requirements for a valid Prenuptial Agreement?

Prenuptial Agreements must be in writing to be legally valid. Additional requirements for valid Prenuptial Agreements include:

  • Both parties must voluntarily execute the agreement.
  • Both parties must engage in full disclosure of their respective situations at the time the document is executed.
  • The agreement cannot be unreasonably unfair to one of the parties.
  • Both parties must sign the document in the presence of a notary public.
  • The agreement cannot be unreasonably unfair to one of the parties. 

Create and customize your own Rocket Lawyer Prenuptial Agreement online, consult with a Rocket Lawyer network attorney if you have questions about your agreement or need specific legal advice, and securely eSign the document at any time and on any device.

What happens if I don’t sign a prenup?

An unsigned prenup is not legally binding and is not likely to be enforceable, even if there was some verbal agreement to back it up.

If you did not sign a prenup before getting married, you can resume the conversation after marriage using a Postnuptial Agreement instead.

What are the limitations of using Premarital Agreements?

State laws control what is enforceable in a Prenuptial Agreement. If you need to know what restrictions your state may impose, you can ask a lawyer. 

Here are some agreements that your state may not support:

  • Parental rights. Prenuptial Agreements cannot protect or enforce parental rights. If you decide to divorce and have mutual children, you will need to go through mediation and or court to decide custody arrangements.
  • Maintenance waivers. In some cases, a prenup may not support the waiving of maintenance (alimony and palimony) payments. While that information can be included in the agreement, the court may review the maintenance at the time of divorce and change the amount if they feel the waiver is unfair.
  • Incentives for divorce. Judges may look for provisions in the agreement that appear to provide monetary incentives for divorce.
  • Non-financial agreements. Most judges do not want to see personal information such as who you are to spend holidays with in a Prenuptial Agreement. You can make those agreements in a separate document if needed.
  • Signing under duress. If the judge deems that either party appeared to sign under pressure, they may choose to not support the agreement and divide assets according to applicable state laws. For this reason, most lawyers suggest that the document is signed well in advance of the wedding.

Does a prenup protect against or prevent having to pay alimony?

A couple may agree to waive spousal support, also known as alimony, in their Prenuptial Agreement in the event of a divorce. Couples may also agree to provide spousal support, including any details, such as a schedule, should the marriage end up in divorce. 

Ultimately, if the matter comes before a judge, the judge may not only look at the terms of the Prenuptial Agreement, but may also look at the circumstances of the two parties to the agreement to determine what was agreed to, whether the agreement is valid, and whether or not enforcing it results in an unfair outcome for either of the parties.

State laws may differ on the validity of prenups and the individual circumstances of each couple can impact the terms of the agreement. Making a customized Prenuptial Agreement can save time and money, but if your situation is complex, such as a second marriage, you may want to consider having a Rocket Lawyer network attorney review your prenup at an affordable rate.

Why is it important to discuss financial matters before getting married?

There is a bit of taboo-type thinking surrounding the idea of asking for a Prenuptial Agreement. However, even if you do not compose a formal document, you need to be able to openly talk about finances and not just the fun stuff like the idea of buying a house someday, but also the hard stuff like how much debt you have, your credit rating and financial obligations to others (like child support or elderly care). Many marital disputes arise from money issues. It is beneficial if you and your partner can willingly and rationally discuss finances before problems arise.

Your marriage may be the most important legal partnership you’ll ever enter. Like business partners, you will have responsibilities, contributions, assets and debts, skills and talents, and more you are bringing to the relationship. And together your goal is to stay in business and be solvent. Solvent for both partners, whether together or not. You’ve already established your love and commitment to one another, the next step may be to decide how best to manage your financial future.

Can we sign a prenup after the wedding?

While it is not common, yes, you can sign an agreement after the wedding. These are often called Postnuptial Agreements. 

In fact, you can make a financial agreement any time during your marriage. Most couples sign their agreement before the wedding since everyone is on good terms and excited about taking the next big step in their life. Even if you have a prenup in place before the wedding, you will need to alter it periodically as your financial situation changes or if you make large purchases.

Do I need a Prenuptial Agreement lawyer?

Whether or not you should hire a Prenuptial Agreement lawyer may depend on the laws of your state (some states may require both parties have a lawyer review their prenup) and your own comfort level with the details of the agreement itself. If your state’s laws for property division after a divorce are in line with what you’d want anyway, then you might decide that a prenup is not necessary. 

In some situations, it might be a good idea for each person to have their own lawyer who can review the prenup with an eye towards their own client’s interests, rather than having a seeming conflict of interest because they are representing both clients at the same time. Having a dedicated lawyer for each person makes the agreement stronger since neither party can later claim they lacked independent advice before signing the agreement.

What other legal documents might be helpful?

When you get married, you’ll want to take the time to update your Will, if you have one. You might also consider adding a Living Will or Power of Attorney.

  • Last Will and Testament. Any time your family or your assets change, you’ll want to update your Last Will and Testament.
  • Power of Attorney. Using a Power of Attorney document, you can appoint someone to manage your personal and business responsibilities if you are away or incapacitated.
  • Living Will. A Living Will allows you to appoint someone to carry out your end-of-life wishes.

We also provide documents for your marriage celebration, such as service contracts for caterers, bartenders, musicians, DJs, limousine services and venue rentals.

Important Details

  • Each party should seek the advice of separate lawyers before signing this Agreement. The Prenup should be reviewed and signed well in advance of the wedding ceremony because the consideration (value) for entering into the agreement is the act of marriage itself.
  • The exhibit describing the financial position of each person should be signed by the person whose assets are described. The person who receives the exhibit should also sign the exhibit to acknowledge receipt.
  • If possible, the parties should attach copies of the actual financial information, account statements, deeds, etc. Without full financial disclosure, the agreement can be deemed unenforceable in a divorce proceeding.
  • Each party should sign the Transmutation Agreement with their name included as Exhibits ‘C’ and ‘D’ of this Agreement. These Exhibits are necessary to properly classify your property and assets the way that you specified in this Agreement.
  • While updating the prenuptial agreement itself is not likely to occur (because it must happen prior to the marriage), provisions of the prenuptial agreement can be overridden by the terms of a will (or trust) if the overriding terms are more favorable to the person not making the changes.
  • Each party must have seven days between the time that each party received the agreement and the time that the agreement is signed. This is to allow both parties to thoroughly review the agreement and seek separate and independent legal counsel. This requirement must be signed off by both parties in the agreement.
  • In order for a Prenuptial Agreement to be enforced in California, the court must be able to find that each party was independently represented by separate attorneys. Each representing attorney may sign the certificate of independent legal review at the end of this agreement.  
  • Some states require a separate written waiver when a spouse relinquishes their right to independent counsel. If one spouse is not represented by an attorney (and has signed a separate written waiver) the court must be able to find that the party (1) was fully informed of the terms of the agreement and the rights and obligations he or she was relinquishing by signing the agreement, and (2) was proficient in the language in which the explanation of his or her rights was conducted and in which the agreement is written.


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VIN Verifications and Changing Vehicle Ownership With a DMV Car Title Transfer

Buying or selling a car requires transferring the title. Learn about the DMV title transfer process, and what is legally required.

A car title is the document that establishes ownership of a vehicle. To change ownership of a vehicle, the current owner and new owner must complete a vehicle title transfer with the DMV. This process varies from state to state. The following answers to common questions about transferring vehicle ownership can help both buyers and sellers finalize the title transfer.

When is a vehicle title transfer required?

When a vehicle has, or is required to have a title, when ownership changes, a title transfer is typically required. Here are the most common situations where a vehicle title transfer may be required:

  • Selling or buying a car.
  • Transferring a car to a family member.
  • Inheriting a vehicle.
  • Paying off a car loan or car note.
  • Gifting, donating, or junking a vehicle.
  • Making name corrections.

How do I transfer vehicle ownership when buying or selling a car?

Most states require a Vehicle Bill of Sale or some other documentation when buying or selling a car. A Bill of Sale documents the terms and conditions of the exchange between two private people. It includes the purchase price, the VIN, the model and year of the vehicle, the warranty, an odometer reading, the signed legal names and addresses of both the seller and the buyer, and sometimes a notarized signature. A Vehicle Bill of Sale, however, only represents the transfer of the right to ownership. The vehicle’s certificate of title represents actual ownership and is required in every state. 

After or at the time of the sale, the seller must provide a current odometer disclosure on the title, and both the buyer and seller must sign and date the title document. The buyer then needs to make an appointment at their state’s DMV and apply for a title in their name. Be prepared to present the above paperwork and pay a small transfer fee. Note that some states, like California, also require a smog certification.

How do I transfer vehicle ownership to a family member?

Even when transferring car ownership to a family member, most if not all of the same vehicle title transfer procedures and regulations apply. Typically, the recipient will not have to pay sales tax on the vehicle. Spouses, parents, children, grandparents, grandchildren, siblings and partners are considered eligible for a family vehicle title transfer. The rest of the process of transferring title is the same as buying or selling a car.

How do I transfer vehicle ownership if I inherit a car or boat?

The process of getting the title to an inherited car or boat in your name may vary depending on the exact situation. You may want to ask a lawyer about your specific situation. 

Generally, to claim the deceased owner’s vehicle, you may be required to provide the DMV with proof of your identity and relationship to the owner, a completed and signed title including the current odometer disclosure, and other supporting paperwork, such as the will, death certificate, or other certified court documents. Be prepared to pay a transfer fee. Inherited vehicles may also be exempt from sales tax.

How do I remove my loan company from the title when I pay off my car note?

After you pay off your car loan or car note, the lienholder must be removed from the title. Usually the lienholder takes care of this process. When the lien release is signed and mailed to you, you may still need to make an appointment with the DMV and submit the lien release, a completed vehicle title transfer application, and pay the transfer fee. You may be able to do all of this by mail, just be aware of the additional processing time.

How do I transfer vehicle ownership when gifting a car?

As with transferring a car to a family member, the recipient of a gifted vehicle may not have to pay sales tax on the vehicle. The procedures for transferring ownership are similar to buying or selling a car: the donor must include the odometer disclosure on the title, both parties must sign and date the title, and the recipient must go to the DMV and apply for a new title in their name and pay the transfer fee.

How do I change or correct a name on a vehicle title?

If your name changes due to marriage or divorce, or you discover a mistake on your title, you can have your name changed or corrected on the document. Gather the legal documents that provide proof of your name change, like a birth certificate, marriage certificatedivorce decree, or court order. Write the corrected name under New Registered Owner on your vehicle title and complete the appropriate portion of the title or title transfer document. Then, make an appointment with your local DMV to submit the paperwork. Note that some states wave the title fee for name corrections.


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