I found out I own a vehicle that my roommate sold

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I found out I own a vehicle that my roommate sold

My daughter is 20 years old and is autistic. My wife and I have a power of attorney for her financial matter. Our daughter has lived with a group of people the last 8 months. Our daughter has moved back home. Last week she started receiving collection calls from a company named Chrysler Credit. I looked them up on the internet and was able to create an online account to see what was delinquent. Evident, my daughter’s roommates needed to buy a car. They asked my daughter to come with them. Her roommates request for a loan was denied because of bad credit. They then asked my daughter to sign a document saying it would allow them to get the car. Now we know she is 3 months behind on the $600/month payment. To add to the problem, her former roommates have since either sold the vehicle or allowed a 3rd party to assume the payments. The title of the car is in my daughters name and she hasn’t see the vehicle since early July. What can we do to get the car back under her control so we control what’s done with the vehicle until we can work something out with the credit company. Also, can we file criminal charges against the roommates for theft or for selling it without her permission. Lastly, given our daughters condition and our power of attorney is there something we can do about her responsibility to the loan.

Asked on August 25, 2018 under Criminal Law, Texas

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

1) IF your daughter has been officially (e.g. by a court) declared legally incompetent to handle her own affairs and has a legal guardian appointed to manage her monies, etc., then she could void the car loan and get out of it--a legally incompetent person cannot sign loans or contracts, and any loans or contracts they sign are not binding. But having autism is not enough: most autistic people are legally competent. You need an actual legal determination of incompetence for this.
2) If she was on the car's title as well as on the loan, then the car could not be sold without her permission (all owners must agree to the sale); she could sue her roommates for her share of the car's value (its value as of when it was sold) and apply that to the loan. A civil lawsuit is the remedy when they are several owners and some sell the asset without the other's consent. She may also be able to sue for their share of car payments, if they were on the loan with her as well and so we also liable for paying the loan.
If the title was only in your daughter's names, then she could likely get the sale undone or voided, since non-owners have NO right to sell a car; and/or sue her roommates for the full value of the car; and she may be able to press charges against them, too, in this case.
It would be worthwhile you, as people possessing a POA from your daughter (assuming it is a relatively standard POA, which gives you the right to bring legal actions on her behalf, too) to consult with a lawyer against your remedies against the roommates and the sale.


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