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What is a Trailer Bill of Sale?

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  • Written By: Rebekah Worsham
  • Edited By: Angela B.
  • Last Modified Date: 12 November 2016
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A trailer bill of sale is a legal document drafted to transfer the title of a trailer or manufactured home from one owner to another. A trailer bill of sale is also meant to show proof of contract. It is drafted to protect the interests of both parties.

The law recognizes two types of bill of sale. The first, an absolute bill of sale, is signed when the seller acknowledges payment in full for the purchase of the trailer, either by cash or trade, and transfers ownership and all future rights in regard to the trailer to the buyer. In contrast, a conditional bill of sale is a document that acknowledges only partial payment made by the buyer toward the purchase of the trailer.

A conditional bill of sale allows the seller to retain legal ownership of the trailer while providing the buyer the right, as agreed on with the seller, to use the trailer until it is paid in full. Once payment in full has been made, the seller will release ownership of the trailer through an absolute bill of sale. In the case of default on behalf of the buyer, a conditional bill of sale is used as documentation to establish forfeiture of any rights to refund of payments made by the buyer. Should the seller default, the conditional bill of sale serves as a receipt that establishes the buyer's right to refund of any payments made toward the purchase.

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When drafting a trailer bill of sale, all aspects regarding the purchase should be included to prevent confusion and to clearly establish ownership. Specifics such as the purchase price of the trailer, and the full legal names and addresses of both the buyer and the seller should be stated; the notarized signature of all parties should be included to ensure validity. A full description of the trailer should also be included in the trailer bill of sale, along with any registration or serial or model numbers related to the vehicle.

Once completed, the bill of sale will need to be filed with the appropriate authorities as soon as possible to prevent liability and to ensure the legality of the purchase. Laws vary by state. That makes it is best to ensure that all bills of sale are prepared by legal experts familiar with the laws of your state to protect your rights.

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