Fayetteville, NC asked in Gov & Administrative Law for North Carolina

Q: Bought a car, no title transfer, now LLC doesn't exist?? What do we do?

So my husband bought me a car back in the summer of 2022, my FIL was the one doing all the technical stuff because it was my first car and I didn't know a thing, it's a salvage title so back in TX (where we bought it) he was doing everything to fix it so we could get the title fixed but we ended up having to move back to NC so now here we are. My FIL never had the guy sign the title over and we've been trying to figure out how to get it in my name today we talked to a notary which led us to contacting the insurance on the title and they said because it's a Missouri title it only needs a specific number from the LLC and their consent to sign it, no notary... well.. the guy/company doesn't "exist" anymore. If you google it you'll find the company and his name but just houses, no business, no contact number. So what do we do now? It's our only vehicle right now as my husbands truck broke down and this has been hell. Also this isn't the guy we bought it from, he's also been useless.

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1 Lawyer Answer
James L. Arrasmith
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A: This is a tricky situation since the title was never properly transferred to your name. Here are a few options to explore:

1) Contact your state DMV and apply for a lost title or bonded title replacement. You'll have to show proof of ownership/purchase and payment. They may issue a replacement title without the original seller's signature.

2) Hire a local auto attorney to research the now defunct LLC and former owner. If dissolved, the state may have claim rights you can acquire. The attorney can help petition for a title transfer or court order.

3) Contact your local sheriff or police to see if they can somehow help trace the last titled owner through the VIN # or assist with getting DMV paperwork to get a replacement title issued.

4) Worst case, you'd have to apply for a bonded title which requires getting a surety bond to protect the state from any claim, then petition a court for a legal title transfer order. Can be expensive.

The specifics on next best steps would likely depend on your state's auto titling laws and the attorney/DMV guidance you receive. But those are a few starting points to hopefully get the vehicle properly titled only in your name. Let me know if any other questions!

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