What can bank do to vehicle or estate if auto loan in mom’s name?

Q: My mother passed and my auto loan is in her name. I cannot finance the vehicle myself as there are too many miles and it is way upside down. I have kept current with the payments so far. The only funds from the estate were in a retirement account and insurance. There is a house which my sister has always lived with my mother but it still has a mortgage. She is also executor. Her plan is to pay off the house with the retirement money and sell it. Can the bank repossess the vehicle? Can they go after either of us or the estate to recoup the balance? What if I turn the vehicle in to the bank? I will receive enough insurance to pay the car off. However, I don’t want to spend 10k on a car worth 3k if I don’t have to but I don’t want the estate to have to pay for the balance of it either.

A: Good question.  If the car is titled in mom’s name, as is the loan, it could be repossessed if they will not refinance you. It would be considered an estate debt. If the car is in your name, but the loan is in mother’s name, that would be unusual. Voluntary relinquishment of a vehicle to avoid repossession may be an option. You can call the lender and ask. As far as the mortgage on the house and your sister’s plans to pay it off with estate money, more information is needed to be known if that is a viable alternative. You should review the estate with an attorney to determine the extent of the debts, expenses, amount of assets, and potential inheritance tax and income tax, just to mention a few.

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