Busted But Not Responsible? Tips For Your Defense

If you've been arrested for a crime you didn't commit, you need to defend your legal rights. You have the right to an attorney who can help you present your case. After being wrongly accused of something myself, I learned quickly how to navigate the legal avenues to have my case dismissed. My attorney was a great resource for building the case, and because of my understanding of the law, it worked. I created this site to share what I learned along the way and some other great tips for others who have been wrongly accused and arrested for a crime.

Can You Pay Off A Loved One's Loan To Inherit Their Car?

Law Blog

Since many people take out car loans, it's common for a loved one to leave behind a car that still has a loan on it when they die. If you pay off that loan, does that mean the car is yours to inherit? Here's what you should do.

Do You Have to Pay a Loved One's Debts?

The first thing you need to know is that you never have an obligation to pay off a loved one's debts. Except for joint debts between spouses or if you've co-signed on a loan, debts do not transfer to family members. It's common for creditors to try to contact family members to try to shame them into paying a loan, but the creditor has no legal right to collect from them.

The estate does have to settle any debts before family members can inherit anything. The estate is everything your loved one owned when they died. What they owned is their assets minus their debts. So if they had $200,000 in assets and $50,000 in debts, their estate would be worth $150,000 after paying off the debts. While the family members wouldn't have to pay the $50,000 if the estate had no assets, they only inherit from the remaining $150,000.

Does Paying Off a Car Loan Make it Yours?

Since the estate has to pay its debts, you might think that paying off the car loan would make the car yours. You can't inherit the car just by writing a check for it. First, you need to check if the will left the car to a specific person. If it did, they get the car unless you agree to swap inheritances or buy it from them.

Next, the car might be worth more than what's left on the loan. If it's a $20,000 car with $5,000 left on the loan, you can't just pay $5,000 for it. There is $15,000 in equity in the car, so your inheritance would need to be worth at least $15,000.

What Should You Do if You Want the Car?

If you want to keep your loved one's car, first contact the bank to make sure the loan gets paid off. If your inheritance covers the car loan and its value, ask your family to keep the car as part of your inheritance. If your inheritance doesn't cover the car, you can buy the car from the estate with your own money, which will then go to settling any remaining estate debts or to your family members' inheritances.

To learn more about what you can inherit, talk to a local inheritance lawyer today.


26 January 2022