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

UPDATED: Jan 13, 2015

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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


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 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.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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