If a friend died, as a creditor do I have to fill anything out to get vehicle’s title returned to my name?

He was in a wheelchair with no appreciable credit to his name and no Will. I gave him a vehicle which he agreed to pay me off in cash. He died owing me $4000. I have a contract with him, I and a witness signing it. The title, however, is in his name without me as a lienholder. I guess he owes alot of creditors money so is there a possibility that I can loose the vehicle? Lastly, his younger sister is responsible for his estate. She told me that she hired a probate lawer and my name is on the lawyer’s list with my friend owing me money on the vehicle; I will get the vehicle back when probate court is over. Is that correct?

Asked on September 14, 2013 under Estate Planning, Wisconsin

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

It's probably not true. Unless you had a security interest in the vehicle--i.e. the right to repossess it, in the agreement between the two of you--you are an unsecured creditor. That means that while he owed you money, without a security interest, you would not have had the right to the recover the vehicle if he failed to repay you. Rather, you would have the right to sue him--or in this case, his estate--for the amount of money he owes you if you're not paid, which will not help you if his  and his estate's debts exceed the amount of money or assets in the estate.

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

It's probably not true. Unless you had a security interest in the vehicle--i.e. the right to repossess it, in the agreement between the two of you--you are an unsecured creditor. That means that while he owed you money, without a security interest, you would not have had the right to the recover the vehicle if he failed to repay you. Rather, you would have the right to sue him--or in this case, his estate--for the amount of money he owes you if you're not paid, which will not help you if his  and his estate's debts exceed the amount of money or assets in the estate.


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