What happens with my late mother’s car?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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What happens with my late mother’s car?

I bought a car a couple years ago but my mom put it in her name cause her credit being better than mine. I have been paying car payment and insurance all this time. She has now passed away so I am wondering is the car suppose to be paid off or what choices do I have?

Asked on June 26, 2018 under Estate Planning, Georgia


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

1) The full remaining balance left on the car became due when the legal owner (your mother, since it was in her name) died. The financing arm, lender, etc. does not have to force you to pay it all off at once--they could continue accepting monthly payments if they want--but they have the right to require payment in full on threat or pain of repossession.
2) Since your mother was on the title and you were not, it belonged to her. With her passing, if she had a will, it goes to whomever she willed it to. If she did not have a will, it does by "intestate succession"--the rules for inherits what when there is no will. In your state, if she was not married when she passed, if you are an only child, you will inherit it; if you had siblings, you and your siblings all inherit equal interests in (shares of) the car.
3) You will need to get the car into your name if you are inheriting. How to do that depends on what is happening with your mother's estate (everything she left behind). A first step, however, is to get appointed as the estate's personal representative, or the person legally authorized to deal with, act on behalf of, etc. the estate. If you are the only child, or at least the only child interested in this role, you should have no problem in getting appointed by the court. Contact the clerk's office of the probate court for instructions and how to apply to be appointed personal representative.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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