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Are Court Ordered Car Titles Easy?

Here we are once again with another in our series about vehicle court order titles. This is a very popular subject for our Channel and for our title division where if you have a vehicle that was purchased without a title, what are your options? Well, in some states you can do a bonded title, but there’s a downside to that. You have to purchase a shitty bond which sometimes is one and a half times the value of the vehicle. You may be able to do some other types of contacting prior owners and getting lean releases, but in most cases, a court order title is the most direct, powerful way to go.

Lack of Set Procedures
Now the problem is, in most counties, they don’t have a set procedure for this. They don’t have a set set of forms. However, in about 15 counties in the country, there is a package of documents that are provided with instructions, and we like to show you those so even if you’re not in one of those counties, you can see how the process works.

Example from Kansas
So here is a perfect example of a set of documents. It happens to be in a county in the state of Kansas about what they call a quiet title. That’s what they call their court order title. They call it quiet title, and The Quiet Title statute talks about determining title or interest in property and they’re talking about title with the Department of Motor Vehicles, so there you go, title to a motor vehicle. How does it work if you are a person who purchased a vehicle without a title and the last owner isn’t available? That is a reason. So it says often because the initial owner of the vehicle did not sign the title when handing it over, and the new owner can’t find the title to fix the problem. From time to time, it’s because the vehicle is wrecked or abandoned.

Abandoned Vehicles and Other Issues
Here’s an example of abandoned vehicles, just possible reasons. So anything that has a title problem, and here’s where they talk about the basics of it. A quiet title action can be used to clear up ownership on any vehicle which title is given by the state of Kansas. It can include a car, motorcycle, travel trailer, manufactured home, so it’s important to see that it could also be a mobile home.

Steps Before Filing
The first step before filing any action is to make sure the vehicle is not stolen. This is very important. You want to make sure it’s not a stolen vehicle. This is another example of something we’ve talked about before. You can check if it’s stolen on NICB, gives you the link right there. For NICB, it tells you a very important disclaimer. It says you can do this by checking on this free website provided by the National Insurance Crime Bureau and NICB VIN. This doesn’t guarantee the car isn’t stolen, but it’s a good start. We talk about this all the time. If you are looking on any of these online VIN checks, Carfax, NICB VIN Checker, VIN audit, whatever it is, they have some information, but it’s not 100%, especially when it comes to liens. If the vehicle is reported stolen, you won’t be able to file a quiet title action and obtain ownership. That’s obvious. It’s one of the reasons we tell you to do this because, Norm, if you file for a court order title, in this case called Quiet Title, you’ll get a title as long as the vehicle is not stolen.

Checking for Title
If you don’t have a current title, you should look up whether a Kansas title has been issued. That helps you know which direction to go. It’ll also tell you who other parties are. The person filing the case is the plaintiff, that’s you, that’s the person who ultimately wants to have their name on the card. That’s the plaintiff. Here is the Civil Information Sheet that you fill out for this process, a bunch of check boxes. You put in the plaintiff’s name, defendant’s name, and they already have this filled in for you. The defendant is the Kansas Department of Revenue. That’s who issues titles. They already have it filled in, so that’s helpful. If there are any other defendants like lien holders or prior owners, you put them here. I have a lot of places for that, and it tells you what you’re trying to do here is the Civil Petition. The plaintiff is you, plaintiff blank, claims against defendants involving a car motorcycle VIN number. Plaintiff U. Joe is a resident of County Kansas residing at it tells you the wording for the court order title. Plaintiff requests judgment as follows: to issue a new certificate of title for property in the name of the plaintiff. That’s what you’re asking for.

Documentation Requirements
Normally they’re going to require you to provide some documentation about how you purchased the vehicle, also some documentation that you tried to contact the prior owner. You put an ad in the newspaper, you did an Affidavit of Service that you did these certain things. This is the affidavit to obtain service. The reason for showing you this is because most counties don’t have these pre-made documents. There are 3,611 counties in the country. There’s only about 15 that have any kind of pre-done paperwork for a court order title. In fact, most counties, if you walk in and say, “I want to do a court order title or a Quiet Title,” they’re not going to know what you’re talking about because it’s not a predefined type of case for them like a small claims case or a divorce case. So you have to do all the work. However, you can use these templates. You can cut and paste from this to make up your own documents.

County Variations and Assistance
Now every County’s a little different. Some counties might want the wording different, some counties might want the plaintiff different, but at least if you have something you can file, they can tell you what to fix. If you go in empty-handed with nothing and say, “Hey, what do I fill out?” they can’t help you. They’re not allowed to do this because they consider it legal advice by a government agency. But if you go in at least with some paperwork filled out, prepared, and it’s wrong, they can tell you, “No, this is wrong. You have to fix it.” And a lot of times it’s trial and error anyway because the clerk or the magistrate might want it different every month to month as they develop their procedures.

Conclusion and Takeaways
This is a good example of a court order title. They call it quiet title. A couple of takeaways from this video is, in most cases, your county is not going to have this. They’re not going to have these paperwork examples for you to use. You’re going to have to fill it out on your own. Now our website will have some examples you can use. The other takeaway from it is that it’s enough of a process that some counties are creating this. They give you instructions. We’re on page four right here, four of 16. The instructions are the first five pages. What to do for service, what to do for submitting a case, what the filing fees are, hearing date finalized, it gives you all the details. So the instructions are important. Just having these forms by itself isn’t enough. If you had these forms but didn’t know the instructions, you’d be out of luck. So make sure that you read through some example instructions from some County. This particular County in Kansas has it. There are a few counties in Ohio that have it. Get an idea of what the instructions are. We have videos that will give you some instructions as well. We also have a title service if you want assistance with this. We could do that, but keep in mind that not every County calls it the same thing. Some call it court order title, some call it magistrate title, some call it quiet title, some just call it a petition of ownership, some call it a writ of mandamus. Forget about the language, the wording, just do the process that matches for what your county is. If you have any questions, you can reach us on our website. We’re glad to be of assistance.

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