When purchasing or selling a Trailer in California you always want to document the transfer of vehicle from the seller to the buyer. Typically this is done by signing the “Transfer by Owner” or “Assignment” section on the rear of the original title. We also suggest securing a valid California bill of sale to properly document the sale including the sales price, condition of the trailer, and hold harmless language to protect the buyer and seller.
Why Do You Need a Bill of Sale?
There are two general reasons why you want to get a Bill of Sale in California when purchasing or selling a Trailer:
1. These vehicles can be very expensive. Whether you giving or receiving cash for an item, you want proof of the transaction in the event someone makes a claim against ownership (if you are the buyer) or if someone is injured by or on the trailer (if you are the seller). It is a simple form of insurance.
2. Your state may require the trailer be registered with the department of motor vehicles. A proper bill of sale will be necessary when applying for registration as you will need to show ownership of the trailer.
In short, a properly executed Bill of Sale will protect you from future liabilities and allow you to register the vehicle.
What Does a Bill of Sale Need to be Valid?
A bill of sale acts as a contract between the buyer and seller of a Trailer. Each state has different rules for what they consider a valid bill of sale, but a contract itself must abide by the following rules:
Offer: The agreement to exchange the vehicle for an amount of money. May also include conditions of the sale for the buyer and the seller.
Consideration: The amount of money being exchanged. Usually in a numeric and written form.
Acceptance: Signatures of both parties on the bill of sale.
Competant Parties and Legal Intent: Both parties entering the contract must be competant (age, mental capacity, and not impaired or forced). The contract is also valid only if it is lawful. A contract to complete an illegal act is not binding.
What Should the Buyer do with the Bill of Sale?
After you have made your purchase and received an executed bill of sale the first thing you should do is put it in a secured location. If lost, you won’t be able to apply for registration, won’t be able to prove ownership if someone claims the vehicle is theirs, and you may have some difficulty selling. We always suggest locking up your bill of sale in a filing cabinet or safe, where a combination or key is needed to access
If applying for vehicle registration, most states now have an online registration portal you can use in which case you will need an electronic copy of the document.
Does the Seller Need a Copy?
We also suggest both the seller keep a copy of the Bill of Sale, and the buyer keep the original. This will ensure the seller can document the sale of their vehicle if property is damaged or someone is injured during its use.
California Trailer Bill of Sale Template