What happens to a car loan for a recently deceased person? 8 Answers as of January 21, 2013

What happens to a car loan for a recently deceased person who does not have a co-signer, will, estate or power of attorney? I make the payments but the loan is not in my name.

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Burnham & Associates
Burnham & Associates | Stephanie K. Burnham
An estate should be opened, and if you want to keep the car you should continue to make payments. The bank will likely not reposess the car so long as all the payments are made on time, and opening the estate will allow you to transfer the car in the end. Please do not hesitate to contact a Probate attorney to assist you and answer your questions.
Answer Applies to: New Hampshire
Replied: 8/9/2011
The Coyle Law Office
The Coyle Law Office | T. Andrew Coyle
If you intend to continue to make the payments - the loan company will likely not take any action; however, you will want to make sure that no one else (heirs of the deceased person) will try to claim the car or a share of it after you have paid off the loan.
Answer Applies to: Illinois
Replied: 8/8/2011
R. Steven Chambers PLLC | R. Steven Chambers PLLC
If the payments are not made the bank can repossess the car. You will need to do a simple probate to change title to your name. You should contact the bank and explain what has happened and ask them to transfer the loan to your name. However, be aware that if you do this, you become personally liable for the loan and if the car is repossessed and sold, you are responsible for any deficiency. As things now stand, you are not personally responsible.
Answer Applies to: Utah
Replied: 1/21/2013
Goldsmith & Guymon
Goldsmith & Guymon | Dara Goldsmith
The loan may be secured to the car. From the e mail I am unable to tell. A review of the current title will help you determine the status. The question posed is not simple, but part of a more complex question. Necessary legal steps are needed to be taken to transfer the car and loan to a co-owner if any, or if there is no co-owner, then the asset (car) will need to be addressed pursuant to the Nevada probate code. Depending upon the value of the Decedent's assets, not just the car, this may require a probate court filing. You should either consult an attorney or review the forms available at the self help center at the courthouse to see if you can address the issues without the assistance of an attorney or whether the assistance of an attorney is necessary.
Answer Applies to: Nevada
Replied: 8/8/2011
The Schreiber Law Firm
The Schreiber Law Firm | Jeffrey D. Schreiber
If you make the payments and pay off the car, the lender will send the title to the deceased person, who obviously cannot sign over the title. If you try to change title, the lender can call the loan as it will know about the death as the state will require their consent to change the owner with their lien still on it.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 8/8/2011
    Ashman Law Office
    Ashman Law Office | Glen Edward Ashman
    Depending on details you didn't give us there may be several ways to transfer the car. See a lawyer as to which is appropriate.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 8/8/2011
    The Law Offices of Laurie E. Ohall, P.A.
    The Law Offices of Laurie E. Ohall, P.A. | Laurie E. Ohall
    If I am reading your description of the facts correctly, you make the payment but the car and the loan are not in your name, they are in the name of the decedent. The finance company is now a creditor of the decedent's estate. If the estate does not want to keep the car, then they should notify the finance company to come retrieve the car and you do not need to continue making payments. However, if the car is yours and the decedent was doing you a favor by having the financing in his/her name, then you have a problem. You can continue to make the payments on the car, however, transferring the title to the car may be hard depending on how you are related to the decedent. If the decedent does not have a Will, then Florida intestacy statutes will dictate who gets the car (and it may not be you). It may be necessary to open an probate, as well.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 8/8/2011
    Olson Althauser Samuelson & Rayan, LLP
    Olson Althauser Samuelson & Rayan, LLP | Todd S. Rayan
    The lender becomes a secured creditor of the Estate. You either assume the loan if they will allow it (not likely) or you sell the vehicle and pay it off. If you can do neither, you can return the vehicle as a voluntary repossession. It must be accounted for through the probate process.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 8/8/2011
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