What to do regarding car payments and a leinholder?

I had a contract with my grandfather to buy his car for $4500 (monthly payments). There was no interest and no penalty for late payments. I only ended up paying $500 and then hit hard financial times. The car is registered to me with an escrow company as the lienholder (I was making the payments through the escrow company). My grandfather then passed away and left everything to his girlfriend. His girlfriend is saying that she does not care if I pay the remaining balance. Can I just ask the escrow company for the title and cancel the contract, or do I have to involve the girlfriend?

Asked on November 4, 2011 under Estate Planning, New Mexico


M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

I am so sorry for your loss.  So let me see if I am following correctly.  While in the process of paying off the loan - which is memorialized by a written contract executed through an escrow agency - your Grandfather passed away.  He left a last Will and testament that left all his assets to his girlfriend.  The contract and loan is indeed an asset of the estate. His girlfriend is waiving the collection of the outstanding balance of the loan or, in other words, she is "forgiving" the rest of the loan owed.  Now, is the girlfriend also the Executor of the estate?  Because if she is not then you may have a problem.  You need the Executor to issue a "satisfaction" that is a document that basically says that the loan is all paid off or that it is forgiven and wiped out.  That satisfaction needs to be filed with the escrow company and where ever else the loan document may be on file (DMV?).  Do NOT take her word for it.  You HAVE TO HAVE the satisfaction.  Seek consultation from an attorney here.  Good luck.

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