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Can I put a lien on a vehicle that I'm selling?

Springfield, MO |

The buyer will be making payments. I would like to be able to hold the title, but he needs the title to tag it and get insurance. So what is the best way to protect myself in case he defaults?

Attorney Answers 6


  1. This inadvertently ended up in the immigration section largely due to a lien "alien." Please try reposting and good luck.

    Mr. Lorenzon's answer to your question does not establish an attorney client relationship, but rather is meant to share knowledge with the general public. For specific advise on your case, you need to consult one on one with an immigration attorney. Mr. Lorenzon can be reached at 216 573 7322 or at jlorenzon@lorenzonlaw.com. All initial constulations are free.


  2. See a lawyer to draft a promissory note and a purchase money security interest (lien) on the auto title.


  3. Yes, you should go to the MO DMV to learn how to list yourself on the pink slip as the "Legal Owner," so the buyer can't sell it out from under you without paying off the promissory note that you will make him sign.

    DISCLAIMER—This answer is for informational purposes only under the AVVO system, its terms and conditions. It is not intended as specific legal advice regarding your question. The answer could be different if all the facts were known. This answer does not establish an attorney client relationship. I am admitted only in California. (Bryant) Keith Martin sbbizlaw.com


  4. You can sell the car and hold the title. The easiest thing to do is to accompany the buyer to the DMV to register the car and prepare any and all paperwork that your DMV may require to register the car to the buyer and list you as a lien-holder. Additionally, for as long as you are the lien-holder, you should require that the buyer maintain appropriate insurance on the (both liability insurance and property insurance) and that the policy lists you as an additional insured so that if the car is in an accident, there will be funds to satisfy the amount(s) owed to you.

    This is not specific legal or tax advice. My posting this answer is for general, non-specific information only. My answering this quesiton does not establish an attorney-client relationship,


  5. Contact an experienced contract attorney in MO for a legal opinion as to your available options. Good luck.

    Legal disclaimer: The statement above is provided by CC Abbott is based on general assistance and not intended to be a legal opinion because not all the facts are provided. The person requesting information and all others reading the answer should retain an attorney who is permitted by the state bar within the jurisdiction who can examine the complete facts and provide a legal opinion on your case. All information provided in the above answer and other information provided by CC Abbott does not create an attorney/client relationship within any state of Federal law.


  6. Despite some of my esteemed colleagues responses, the law in Missouri is slightly different. The lienholder of an automobile no longer keeps the title to the automobile upon the sale. Instead, there is a section on the back of the title below the transfer section where you can list yourself as the holder of a lien on the car. When the buyer takes the title to the DMV to have it re-titled in his name, the DMV will also place your name and address on the front of the new title that the buyer receives as well as in their records so that anyone else buying the car has notice of the lien and will not be able to re-title it without receiving a lien release from you. Even if the buyer or a subsequent buyer attempts to claim the title was lost and tries to obtain a new title through that process, the DMV will have a record of the lien and will not re-title the vehicle without a lien release from you. The link attached provides some very good information regarding the titling of a vehicle in Missouri.