Can I keep the family vehicle after my spouse’s death?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Can I keep the family vehicle after my spouse’s death?

My husband died and the car was in his name. I informed the finance agency of his death. I made 2 more additional payments on the vehicle. Now, the finance agency has taken the vehicle. Is there a way that I can keep the vehicle if

I keep paying on it? Should they have taken my money if they knew they were going to take the vehicle?

Asked on November 11, 2018 under Business Law, Mississippi


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

1) They were entitled to take your money for the time you actually had and were using the car; there is no right to hold onto a car without paying for it.
2) Because the car was not in your name as well as your husband's, when he passed away, the full amount due on the car became due; debts become due when the debtor passes away. You should have had the option to pay the remaining balance due on the car all at once (in a lump sum); however, since you were not the person on the loan, the finance agency was not required to let you keep paying on it monthly--not being on the loan, you had no contract (a loan is a contract) with them. Your only option to keep the car would have been a lump-sum payment.

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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