If you have ever bought or sold a vehicle in a private transaction, you are likely familiar with a notarized bill of sale. Regardless of your previous experience with the bill of sale document and the notarization process, you might be left with important questions about both.
Read on for more information about the notarized bill of sale, what it does, what it contains, and how to obtain one.
What Is a Notarized Bill of Sale?
A notarized bill of sale is an essential legal document that specifies and records the transfer of personal property from one party to another. The stipulated parties on these documents can be either individuals or organizations.
To become notarized, a bill of sale must be signed by both the selling and purchasing parties under the direct supervision of an official notary public. By reviewing relevant documentation and witnessing the signing, the notary public can substantiate the personal information on the bill of sale and ensure that the signees present are exactly who they say they are.
A typical notarized bill of sale document contains many fillable fields. The seller, the buyer, and the notary must complete different areas of the form. Of course, there are blanks for the handwritten signatures of both the buyer and the seller and areas dedicated to notary authentication and accreditation.
Why Notarize a Bill of Sale?
Below are reasons why you should notarize a bill of sale:
1. It Protects Both Seller and Buyer Against Fraudulent Sales
A well-established and time-honored practice to ensure the authenticity of documents, notarization prevents someone from using a fake bill of sale with forged signatures to steal someone else’s property and present it as their own.
After witnessing a sales transaction by signing a bill of sale, a notary will place an official seal on this document, signifying that the deal is finalized, official, and kept on permanent record at a local notary’s office.
2. It Assures that Both Parties Understand the Terms and Agree to Them
While executing a bill of sale, notaries ensure that all parties fully understand what they agree to and testify to.
In addition to confirming that both seller and buyer have the mental capacity to finalize a legally binding deal, a notary will evaluate the situation for any signs of coercion to ensure that all parties sign according to their own free will.
3. It Assures that All Information Is Present, All Fields Are Filled, and All Endorsements Are Made
When you work with a licensed notary public, you can have confidence in properly completing your bill of sale with all relevant details in place. An experienced notary can answer any questions a seller or buyer might have about how to fill a form out and generally walk both seller and buyer through the entire process of finalizing a sale.
After both seller and buyer have signed with confidence, the notary will give the bill of sale a final inspection before endorsing it by attaching an official stamp at the bottom of the document.
4. It’s Required by Law for Many Sales Transactions
Because the transfer of personal property is legally governed at the state level, the government standards that regulate these transfers can differ significantly from state to state. In some cases, local municipalities such as counties and cities might have their own stipulated legal requirements.
In Louisiana, Nebraska, Maryland, New Hampshire, West Virginia, and Montana, buyers and the sellers are required by law to sign the bill of sale in the presence of a notary public.
When Is Notarization Required?
A notary stamp or a similar certificate of authority isn’t legally required for every private sales transaction, but it is necessary or at least advisable for certain property exchanges. As previously noted, these requirements differ from place to place because they are primarily governed at the state and local levels.
Although you will want to check the regulations in your area before broaching any significant sales agreement, you should know that cars, trucks, SUVs, RVs, motorcycles, and other automotive vehicles generally require proof of ownership documents with notary acknowledgments. Aircraft, watercraft, heavy machinery, and firearms are also widely subject to notarized ownership documents.
Regardless of what property is being sold and where the sale is taking place, most legal experts recommend using a notarized bill of sale to prove the legitimacy of that sale.
What to Include in a Notarized Bill of Sale
- State of sale – The US state where the sale occurs.
- Date of sale – The calendar date on which the sale is taking place.
- Description of property – For a vehicle, including make, model, year, body style, and color.
- Purchase price – The monetary figure to which both parties have agreed.
- Seller’s contact information – Address, telephone number, email.
- Buyer’s contact information – Address, telephone number, email.
- Seller pledge of transfer – Including brief property condition appraisal.
- Seller’s printed name and signature
- Buyer’s printed name and signature
- County of license – The US county where the notary holds a license.
- Date – The calendar date of notarization
- Commission expiration date – The date that the notary’s license expires.
- Notary’s printed name, signature, and Aafixed notary seal
Notarized Bill of Sale Sample
Below, you can download a notarized bill of sale template in PDF or Word format:
Where to Notarize a Bill of Sale
To notarize a bill of sale, buyers and sellers must choose one of just a few options to get their bill of sale notarized.
The first option is as old as the practice of document verification itself. It involves visiting a notary face-to-face at banks, shipping organizations, real estate firms, or elsewhere. For added convenience, mobile notaries will travel to your home, business, or your chosen site to notarize a document.
The second option is to go online to get a notary’s signature on a digital document; however, you should double-check your state rules to ensure it is an acceptable form of notarization.
You can find a notary public at:
- Notarize.com – Online notaries. The cost is $25 per notarized document.
- Bank Branch – If you are an account holder at any financial institution (bank, credit union, etc.), a branch location usually offers these services for free.
- UPS Store – Most UPS stores offer notary services.
- 123notary.com – Use their locator to find notaries listed that offer their services.