Failure to Transfer Title/Incomplete Transfer

Although it is not recommended by the clerk’s office, there are times when a seller and buyer cannot transfer a vehicle/boat/trailer together. Sellers who sign a title over to a buyer risk the possibility of the title not being transferred. This can result in the seller being liable for any further years of property taxes, crime and/or damage done by the vehicle/boat/trailer if the buyer has not transferred the title. It is the clerk’s recommendation that sellers who will not be present for the transfer, request a copy of the completed transfer from the buyer before releasing the vehicle/boat/trailer to the buyer. If for some reason a seller has released the vehicle/boat/trailer and the buyer has failed to transfer the title, the seller can cancel the registration stopping all further years of property taxes. A seller must wait at least fifteen days from the date a title was signed over before processing an incomplete transfer. Canceling the registration will only eliminate additional years of property tax. The cancellation will not keep the seller from possible liability of any crime or damage that the buyer does while driving the vehicle. The cancellation will prevent the buyer from licensing the vehicle until they complete the transfer.


The following documents and information are required: (All forms highlighted in blue are downloadable simply by clicking on them and other highlighted words will direct you to that specified section.)

  • Proof of Sale-that could be a copy of the Kentucky title signed over to buyer. An alternative to the proof of sale is an affidavit located in the clerk’s office. To complete the affidavit, the Kentucky owner would need their driver’s license, the vehicle/boat/trailer information (VIN for vehicles and trailers, KY# for boats) and the sale information (i.e. buyer’s name and the sale date).
  • All liens must be satisfied before we can cancel the registration. The termination statement must be completed by the financial institution and signed, then submitted to the clerk.
  • All taxes must be paid in full on the vehicle/boat/trailer before the clerk’s office can cancel the registration as incomplete transfer.