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What is a bill of sale

A bill of sale is a legal document that records the transfer of ownership of an asset from the owner to another party, usually in exchange for money. This could be in a case of a sale or a loan.

It aims to protect both parties by proving that the sale or loan took place, and that the payment and ownership of the asset changed hands.

It may apply to situations where the asset has not been transferred between the parties. For example, a bill of sale can record:

  • A sale of personal property such as furniture, before the property is physically delivered from the seller to the buyer.
  • A loan that involves the borrower transferring their rights to an asset to the lender. The asset can still be in the possession of the borrower.
  • A sale of a motor vehicle through a financing arrangement. While the buyer may have the vehicle, the rights to the vehicle will only be transferred to the buyer after the buyer completes the payment.

You may do any of the following in the General Division of the High Court:

Assets that can be covered in a bill of sale

A bill of sale may cover any of the following personal assets (legally known as chattels):

  • Goods, furniture and other moveable articles that can be transferred from one party to another by delivery.
  • Trade machinery (as defined in the Bills of Sale Act).
  • Fixtures and growing crops (as referred to in the Bills of Sale Act).

Who is involved

If you are the party who issues a bill of sale, you are the grantor of the bill of sale. The other party is the grantee.

If the case involves a loan

  • The bill of sale is usually issued by the borrower (the grantor). The lender will be the grantee.
  • The borrower will transfer the borrower's rights to the asset mentioned in the bill of sale to the lender. The borrower may still possess the asset while paying the loan.
  • After repaying the loan, the borrower may regain the rights to the asset.

If the case involves a sale

  • The bill of sale is usually issued by the seller (the grantor). The buyer will be the grantee.
  • The bill of sale is proof that the seller has transferred the rights to the asset mentioned in the bill of sale to the buyer.

Refer to this table for examples of the types of bills of sale:

A bill of sale can be...

A bill of sale cannot be...

  • An inventory of goods with receipts attached, or receipts for purchase moneys of goods.
  • An assurance of personal chattels.
  • A power of attorney, authority or licence to take possession of personal chattels as security for any debt.
  • An assignment for the benefit of the creditors of the assignor.
  • A prenuptial marriage settlement (that occurs before marriage).
  • A transfer or assignment of any ship or vessel or any share of the ship or vessel.
  • A transfer of goods in the ordinary course of business of any trade or calling.
  • For goods that are at sea or not in Singapore.
  • Bills of lading, warehouse-keeper’s certificates, warrants or orders for the delivery of goods.

Register a bill of sale

Tip
This is the process to register a bill of sale for the first time. If you have already registered a bill of sale and wish to renew it, refer to Renew a bill of sale.

A bill of sale needs to be attested and registered within 3 days after the bill has been executed or it may be unenforceable against certain parties. The court will keep a record of the bill after you successfully register it.

Estimated fees

Refer to the Bills of Sale (Fees) Rules for a list of fees related to preparing or filing a bill of sale.

How to register

You will need to follow these steps:

Prepare the following documents:

Attesting means getting a third party to witness that you have signed the bill of sale.

The third party who attests the bill of sale should be one of the following:

  • An advocate and solicitor of the Supreme Court of Singapore who is not acting for the grantee.
  • A magistrate or the registrar or the deputy registrar of the Supreme Court.
  • A Commissioner for Oaths.
  • The registrar or deputy registrar of bills of sale.

File all of the following documents to the court through eLitigation:

You may choose to file personally or through a lawyer. If you are represented by a lawyer, the documents will be filed by your lawyer. If you are not represented by a lawyer, visit the LawNet & CrimsonLogic Service Bureau to file in person.

Renew a bill of sale

The registration of a bill of sale must be renewed once every 12 months.

To renew a registration, you should file a statutory declaration. This should be in the Declaration on Registration of Bill of Sale form (from the Second Schedule of the Bills of Sale Act). Find out more about how to prepare statutory declarations.

Other applications related to bills of sale

You may apply to inspect, transfer or rectify certain errors in the registration of a bill of sale.

If you are the grantor of a bill of sale for a loan, you may apply for an entry of satisfaction after paying off the amount in the bill of sale.

Refer to the Bills of Sale Act or contact the Supreme Court Legal Registry for more information.

Need help?

The information here is for general guidance as the courts do not provide legal advice. If you need further help, you may want to get independent legal advice.

Find out more

Resources

Legislation associated with this topic includes:


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