This answer is written by AI. The information provided in this response is intended for general informational purposes only and should not be considered as legal advice. Do not rely solely on the information provided in this response for any legal decisions. Consult with a qualified legal professional before making any decisions.

What Are My Options for a Car Bought Without Proper Paperwork?

Question from Hawaiian, What Are My Options for a Car Bought Without Proper Paperwork?

Answer from AI:

When you purchase a vehicle from someone, it’s crucial to complete all necessary paperwork, including a bill of sale and transferring the title to your name. This situation becomes complicated if the seller, in this case, your ex-girlfriend, does not complete the paperwork and becomes unreachable. Living in Montana and facing issues with an expired registration on a vehicle not legally in your name presents a unique set of challenges. Here’s a general guide on what steps you might consider and the importance of seeking legal advice for your specific situation.

Understanding Your Situation

You’re dealing with a few key issues:

  1. The vehicle’s title is not in your name, making it difficult to renew the registration or prove ownership.
  2. You’ve been making loan payments on a loan that is not in your name, which means you’re not building credit from these payments.
  3. There’s a risk involved if you stop making payments, including potential legal action from the lender or the car being repossessed.
  4. Without the proper paperwork, there’s a risk the original owner could reclaim the vehicle.

Potential Steps to Take

1. Attempt to Contact the Seller: Though you’ve mentioned she is unreachable, exhaust all possible means to contact her. This includes email, phone, social media, and through mutual acquaintances. Document your attempts as they may be useful later.

2. Consult with a Legal Professional: Given the complexity of your situation, consulting with a lawyer who specializes in property or vehicle law is advisable. They can provide guidance specific to Montana’s laws and suggest a course of action. This might include legal ways to claim ownership of the vehicle or how to protect yourself if you stop making loan payments.

3. Consider a Petition for a Court-Ordered Title: In some jurisdictions, you may be able to petition the court to issue a new title in your name. This process typically requires proving that you’ve purchased the vehicle and have attempted to contact the previous owner. A lawyer can help you understand if this is an option in Montana and assist with the process.

4. Review Montana’s Laws on Abandoned Vehicles: While you mentioned an “abandoned title” might not prevent the original owner from reclaiming the vehicle, it’s worth reviewing Montana’s specific laws on this subject. The Montana Department of Justice – Motor Vehicle Division provides resources that might be relevant. [Montana Department of Justice – Motor Vehicle Division](https://dojmt.gov/driving/).

5. Stop Making Payments: This is a risky option and should be considered carefully. Stopping payments can lead to the vehicle being repossessed and could negatively impact your credit score, even if the loan is not in your name. Before taking this step, discuss the potential legal and financial consequences with a lawyer.

Key Considerations

Legal Advice: Given the complexity and potential legal implications of your situation, consulting with a legal professional is crucial. They can provide advice tailored to your circumstances and Montana’s laws.
Documentation: Keep detailed records of all payments made, attempts to contact the seller, and any communications received. This documentation can be vital in legal proceedings or when attempting to resolve the situation.
Risks: Understand the risks involved in any course of action, including legal action against you for stopping payments or the possibility of the vehicle being repossessed.

In summary, while your situation is challenging, there are steps you can take to attempt to resolve it. Legal advice is essential, and a lawyer can guide you through the options available under Montana law. Remember, every situation is unique, so it’s important to seek personalized advice.

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