Can the bank take my late mother’s car if she had an unpaid balance on it?

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Can the bank take my late mother’s car if she had an unpaid balance on it?

She paid $6,000 cash for deposit and was making payments for more than a year. She paid off $13,000. The unpaid balance is $18,000. I would like to keep the car but they say that I have to pay the unpaid balance in 1 payment in 30 days, which is not affordable to me at this moment. I feel sorry if my mom’s money will be lost. She worked hard trying to pay off this car and now it is going to be just taken by bank?

Asked on January 13, 2015 under Estate Planning, Florida

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

Yes, the bank can: your mother financed the car, essentially taking a loan, like a mortgage, out to purchase it. As with a mortgage, if the payments are not made, the lender can repossess. Further, when she died, the balance on the loan became loan; the bank can insist on payment of the remaining balance in full or else take the car. You can certanly try to negotiate with the lender and see if, for example, they'll let you take out your own loan to purchase the remaining value of the car; that would be voluntary on their part, however, and you cannot force them to lend to you.


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