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Michigan Law on Buying a Car Without a License

by Jane Allison Austin

Buying a car represents more than a cash transfer. Legal ownership means obtaining title in your name, as the seller transfers the title to you, the buyer. The Michigan Secretary of State Title Application requires the driver's license number of the buyer.

The Facts

A friend or family member can provide funds to purchase a car for an individual, but cannot have his name "on title" without a valid driver's license. Cars driven in Michigan must be titled, registered and plated, with one exception: You can purchase a car from an individual and drive it straight home without a license plate.

Purchase Checklist

A car dealership handles sales paperwork, but individual sellers must write the current odometer reading on the title and sign his name. The vehicle identification number and mileage on the title must match the VIN and mileage on the automobile. If the title lists a bank, make sure the lender has signed it or certified that the loan's paid in full. Crossing out any name or information on the title invalidates it.

Title Transfer and Registration

You must apply to a Michigan Secretary of State branch office for new title, registration and plates within 15 days of purchase. Ideally, both parties go together to ensure a legal transfer, but the buyer may go alone. Vehicle registration of requires identification, title and proof of Michigan no-fault insurance coverage, which requires a valid driver's license.

About the Author

Jane Allison Austin is an attorney and real estate broker who has been writing since 1995. Austin was the legal contributor for "Middleburg LIfe" and has written on health care for "Radius Magazine," a physician-owned quarterly. Austin has been an elder care attorney and executive with a national Medicare-certified home health care company. She holds a Master of Arts in international relations.

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