What to do if my grandfather sold a car to my cousin with a verbal agreement that she would make payments, however she has since died and her husband hasn’t paid any money?

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What to do if my grandfather sold a car to my cousin with a verbal agreement that she would make payments, however she has since died and her husband hasn’t paid any money?

He is not making the payments and the vehicle title does not have his name on it. Is there any way for him to get the vehicle back?

Asked on June 1, 2015 under Business Law, Wyoming

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

Unfortunately, a car only be repossessed if there was a written security agreement in place *at the time the sale was made* which would allow repossession in the event of nonpayment. If there was only an oral (or verbal) agreement, there would be no enforceable security agreement.

If the car's title was never transferred out of your grandfather's name, it's still his and he does not need to do anything to get it back.

If title was transferred to your cousin's name, however, he cannot get it back since was no security agreement. He also can't sue the husband, since the husband was not part of the agreement. The best he could do would be to try to sue your cousin's estate, if her estate has not yet been probated, to enforce the oral agreement, but that could be very difficult and may not be worthwhile.


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