If my aunt has passed away with a car that still has a lien on it, should I try to sell it to pay off the loan or should I just ask the bank to take it?

UPDATED: Sep 8, 2011

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If my aunt has passed away with a car that still has a lien on it, should I try to sell it to pay off the loan or should I just ask the bank to take it?

There is not enough money in the estate to pay off the loan and I am in the process of trying to sell the car. Is it my responsibility to try to sell the car or can I just ask the bank to take the car back to satisfy the loan?

Asked on September 8, 2011 under Estate Planning, New York


FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

If the estate's assets concerningyour late aunt are not enough to pay off the amount owed on the car, I suggest that you return it to the lender. The lender can then auction off the car and then bring a claim for any deficiency owed on the car against the estate.

The representative of the estate can either accept or reject the creditor's claim. In the end it makes sense to return the vehicle given the small amount of your aunt's estate in that if the creditor's claim concerning the car is accepted, the probate court (assuming there is a probate) will award the lender a pro-rated share of the claim based upon the total amount of the estate.

In any event, the lender will not get one-hundred (100%) owed from what you have written.

Good question.

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