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The bill of Sale form is a simple yet effective legal instrument most commonly used to sell or transfer all legal rights and ownership of specific goods and personal property. The form may be used to sell a motor vehicle, aircraft, boat, business, computer, firearm, horse, motor vehicle, motorcycle, pet, trailer, computers, furniture, etc. Simply put, it's a legal transaction by a Seller (known as a "vendor") and a Buyer. It can also form part of a "Sale Agreement" for such things as intellectual property or a detailed list of clients or customers which form part of a business. It should include: (1) the full name(s) and street address of the seller and buyer (2) a detailed list of the property being bought and sold, and (3) the actual sale price and the method of payment to be used in the transaction.

Specific Law Requirements

When buying a business it's a good idea to include the "goods and chattels" belonging to the business. These may include stock, inventory and equipment (i.e. Office furniture, desks, chairs, factory equipment, and various supplies) it is vital you date, sign and have it witnessed in the correct and legal manner. Why? Because it prevents the seller (once the sale is transacted and monies have been paid) from later claiming that he or she still retain ownership of the business assets. The law considers the form a valid receipt and legal record of the sale. The law requires certain legal conditions relating to the sale and purchase to be part of the legal form. It will guarantee you written proof of the sale and purchase of property recorded in the document.

Seller's Authority To Sell

You will need to insert the "Terms of Sale" in the template. It must clearly state the condition of the property and whether the sale is subject to the buyer obtaining finance. All legal conditions required by law like the "Seller's Warranty" and "Seller's Authority To Sell" must form part of the document. It should describe in detail if the property is in good condition and working order. This is vital when property is being sold in "As Is" condition. Remember that you can not be 100% certain that the seller is always the legal owner of the property. You need to view wriiten proof that the seller actually does rightfully own the property. The law clearly states that a person cannot sell what they do not own. However, according law, when a person buys a particular item or property they only gain the legal rights to the same extent that the seller actually possesses. So, when seller is not the true and rightful owner, the buyer has no rights to said property. This is certainly true if the property was leased and not purchased outright. An example is when a person wants to sell his or her car and yet it has a lien or finance owing on it.

Acceptable Risk Factor

Bill Hardcopy
Bill Hardcopy

In such a case, it is the property of a finance company. The seller does not own the car outright, and the person selling it does not have any legal rights to sell it.

Unless of course, the Seller was granted permission to sell the car by the finance lender. Nevertheless, you should be careful when buying used property. As the old adage goes, "Buyer Beware" certainly does hold true. When you buy from a manufacturer, retail store (or even an approved distributor) there is still an "acceptable risk factor" but in most cases, a buyer can be fairly confident that the item(s) are free and clear of any debt or liens. Property listed (either used or new) could still pose a real risk if it's not being sold by the owner. When this happens, the true owner has the legal right to recover his or her property from the buyer even though the buyer has paid for it. The Buyer may argue that he or she has a bill of sale, but you should always make sure the sale property is being sold by the true and rightful owner. If you do not check, you may find that you do not actually have any lawful rights to the personal or real property.

Avoiding Legal Risks

If this does happen to you, all is not completely lost because the sale form can be used in a civil lawsuit against the seller. The law makes provision so that you (i.e. the buyer) can legally claim any financial loses because of a breach of contract. However, for the Buyer to avoid such a situation (and, remain legally protected) it is vital that when using a Bill of Sale you carefully examine all other available documentation in possession of the seller. This is so you can satisfy yourself that the Seller is in fact, the true and rightful owner of said property. With this in mind, you should always request from the Seller a copy of the original "purchase order" which should clearly show "where and when" the Seller purchased the property, and whether it is under any type of financing. When the Seller refuses (or simply does not provide such documentation), you should be careful in proceeding further with the transaction. You can always conduct a search in the county office and find out if any lien does apply, and if it has been registered against the property you are considering buying.

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