Can the co-signer of my deceased brother take the car if I am making the payments?

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Can the co-signer of my deceased brother take the car if I am making the payments?

My brother passed away in March of this year. He was 30 and didn’t have a Will. His friend cosigned for his car 4 years ago. Everything is in only my Brothers name (except the loan). My brother has made all of the payments himself. I have made the payments after he passed. Can his friend take the car from me?

Asked on April 7, 2011 under Estate Planning, Tennessee

Answers:

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

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

I am so sorry for your loss.  Although you have made all the information pretty clear here I am a little unclear on one point.  When you say that your deceased brother's name was on everything but the loan, you mean that his name only was and is on everything except that the loan is co-signed by the friend so it has two names: the friend and your brother?  When someone co-signs on a loan of any sort but is not listed on the title, they have no ownership interest at all in the car or house or what ever.  Your brother's friend has only liability: he is responsible for payment.  So the answer here is no, he can not take the car.  But I would strongly suggest that you take the necessary steps to remove your brother's name from the title and probate his estate.  That will probably call in the loan.  But legally it is the right thing to do.  Good luck. 


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