How canIsurrender a financed car back to the lender, if the owner has passed away?

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How canIsurrender a financed car back to the lender, if the owner has passed away?

My mom passed away and had a car loan in her name. I cannot continue to make payments on it nor do I want to. I tried to call the bank and said I would be glad to give the car back to them but they said that I cannot do that without a legal paper stating that I am the representative of the estate. My mom did not have a Will or an estate. No property at all, only the car. What do I do? I do not want the car and want to give it back to them.

Asked on April 19, 2011 under Estate Planning, Alaska

Answers:

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

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

I am so sorry for your loss.  I know: it does sound ridiculous given that from the way that you have written the question you Mother seemed to have no assets but only the liability of the car loan at the time of her death.  Is that correct?  Then call the bank and let them know that there is no estate to be probated other than this loan.  Check the loan agreement and see what is says about the death of the borrower.  You should indeed be able to turn the car in.  Ask if you can prepare an affidavit indicating who you are and that there is no estate to probate instead of going through the hassle of getting temporary letters of administration.  I would also go and speak with the clerk of the probate court about small estates.  Good luck. 


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