How can I protect myself from buying a car from someone who man not be authorized to sell it?

UPDATED: Apr 16, 2012

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How can I protect myself from buying a car from someone who man not be authorized to sell it?

I live in PA and am interested in purchasing a vehicle from a private owner. I am however concerned that the seller claims to be the grandson of vehicle’s owner. Apparently he has the title for the car and has his grandmother signed off on the back for transfer purposes. Can I legally purchase this vehicle and transfer it to my name?

Asked on April 16, 2012 under Business Law, Pennsylvania


FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

The best way to protect yourself from the possibility that the person offering to sell the vehicle that you want to buy for the vehicle's owner is to request a power of attorney from the seller (grandmother) dated and signed by the grandmother giving the grandson the power to sell the car for her as her agent in fact.

Once received, contact the notary that signed the power of attorney (it will have her stamp on it) to make sure that the grandmother actually signed the power of attoney that you received from the grandson. Once confirmed over the phone, write a confirming letter to the notary regarding what was discussed keeping a copy of this letter for future use and need.

Once this is done, you can buy the vehicle and have it placed in your name. I suggest that you make the purchase via a check out to the grandson as designated attorney in fact for the grandmother as owner of the vehicle.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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