When you sell or otherwise transfer ownership of a car or motorcycle, you have to be sure you transfer the title. Neglecting to do so could have devastating consequences for you should an accident or some other event occur.
Let’s say you sell your used car to a friend of a friend. However, you forget or otherwise do not transfer the title to their name.
After they’ve taken possession, the person now driving your old car commits a crime, gets into an accident or racks up a whole bunch of parking tickets. You may be thinking “…well, that’s their problem.”
It would be if you transferred legal ownership of the property to them in a timely manner.
But if you didn’t transfer ownership before any incidents occurred, you could end up being held liable for their malfeasance.
Here at the Gilreath Law Firm, we hear stories all the time of people who didn’t transfer the title to a car or motorcycle that they sold or gifted to someone.
In the end, it cost the former owner thousands of dollars and countless hours to deal with the problem.
In Tennessee, you are required to transfer a title as soon as possible after gifting or selling a car or motorcycle. A title is essentially a legal document that shows vehicle ownership.
To complete a title transfer, you must do the following:
- Complete and sign the title as the “seller”
- Be sure the buyer completes and signs the title as the “buyer”
- In Tennessee, complete and sign an odometer disclosure statement with the buyer
- Provide the buyer with any applicable emissions testing information
- Take your license plate off the vehicle
- Give the buyer a copy of the title and the odometer disclosure statement. They will need to take these documents to their County Clerk’s office to register the vehicle in their name
Although a Bill of Sale isn’t required in Tennessee, it’s good to have one anyway to prove you transferred ownership of the vehicle in case the buyer doesn’t fulfill their obligations to register the vehicle in their name.
Again, simply giving someone the keys and letting them drive off in the sunset could wind up causing you some major problems.
Be sure to cover yourself from any potential liability by properly transferring ownership of your vehicle. Even though the process seems cumbersome, it is worth doing to ensure you’re not troubled by someone else’s mistakes. Check out this page for complete information on transferring ownership of a car or motorcycle in Tennessee.
Neglecting this important task could end up costing you dearly. Cover your bases by properly transferring legal title to the car or motorcycle’s new owner.