What to do if I’m fighting with the finance company over my late dad’s truck?

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What to do if I’m fighting with the finance company over my late dad’s truck?

My father purchased a truck and had it for 3 weeks before he passed away. They took the truck from me and now they want the full amount. I don’t feel I should have to repay the full amount when he only had it three weeks. The first payment was not even due yet nor was it made. They financed my father knowing he didnt even have enough income to make the payment. If I make them a small offer and they deny it and then I have to go to court, will I

loose the case and all my inheritance?

Asked on October 29, 2018 under Estate Planning, Indiana

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

1) They can't make you personally pay it unless you guaranteed the loan or financing; *you* are not responsible for financing you did not take out (you don't inherit the debt). You do not need to pay them--don't let them convince you otherwise--unless you did guaranty or cosign the financing. You personally cannot be sued unlss you signed for or guaranteed the debt.
However:
2) They are entitled to the full amount due for the truck when the person who purchased it dies, or they can take the truck back, as they did. There is no doubt but that they are entitled to the truck if it is not paid for.
3) They can put in a claim in against, and if it is not paid, sue your father's estate. The estate is what you are caling your "inheritance"--the money, assets, belongings, etc. you would inherit. The amount of the possible claim would be calculated like this: say your father bought a truck for $20,000. Say he put $1,000 down or otherwise paid $1,000 by the time he passed. The truck, after being repossessed, can be sold for $15,000 (due to depreciation and the fact that they can low-ball the price somewhat to sell it quickly).  In this example, they get a total of $1,000 + $15,000 = $16,000 for a truck on which your father owed $20,000; they could sue the esate for the other $4,000. If they do this, it will eat into what you might inherit, but the most you could lose is the inheritance (i.e. if your inheritance would be, in this example, $4k or less)--you don't have to pay from your own pocket.


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