How long is a bill of sale good for?

A man uses his laptop to find out how long a bill of sale is good for.

Learn what a bill of sale is, how long it’s valid, and how long to keep yours after the sale is completed.

A bill of sale is an official document used to transfer goods from one person to another. It’s commonly used when selling high-value items, including vehicles, watercraft, aircraft, and even farm animals. But how long is a bill of sale good for, and what’s the recommended duration for keeping it after the sale is completed? Before goods change hands, let’s dive into some details you’ll need to know — whether you’re on the buying or selling side of the deal.

What makes a bill of sale valid to begin with?

A valid bill of sale should clearly identify the involved parties, describe the item being sold, state the purchase price, include the date of the sale, and specify the payment method. Additionally, the presence of warranties or “as-is” conditions should be made clear. Both parties must sign the document, and notarization may be required in some cases. Always ensure the bill of sale complies with local legal requirements to be considered valid.

Remember to include:

How long is a bill of sale valid for the buyer and seller?

While there’s no exact timeline for a bill of sale, it’s typically drawn up just prior to the transfer of goods from the seller to the buyer. And because it must include detailed descriptions of the item being sold, it’s vital that the description be accurate. If circumstances have changed in the time from when the bill of sale was written to when the purchase occurs, you’ll need to write a new one.

Can you back out of a bill of sale? This is also important to know when determining how long a bill of sale is valid.

Because bills of sale are often used to sell a vehicle, if you’re the seller, you must include information such as vehicle condition, VIN, year, make, model, and current mileage. If the buyer delays the purchase by even a short amount of time and you continue to drive the vehicle, you’ll need to draft a new bill of sale that includes the updated mileage.

How long does a bill of sale last if undated?

The validity of an undated bill of sale depends on local legal practices. In many cases, an undated bill of sale is still valid as long as it contains all essential elements. This kind of bill typically remains valid indefinitely, but adding a date is usually advisable for clarity since it helps establish a transaction timeline, making it useful in the case of disputes. Recording the date of item delivery and acceptance can establish the transaction’s timing. It’s important to check local legal requirements, as some jurisdictions may mandate a date on a bill of sale to help ensure compliance and enforceability.

How long should I keep a bill of sale?

Whether you’re the seller or the buyer, you should keep a bill of sale for at least one year after the transfer. It’s also advisable to keep any paperwork associated with the transaction, such as warranty information, along with the bill of sale.

Reduce bill of sale paperwork and stay organized.

With Adobe Acrobat, you can digitize your bill of sale using versatile online tools to scan a document into a PDF for safekeeping.

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