What can I do to get out of a car lease due to illness?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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What can I do to get out of a car lease due to illness?

My husband has been diagnosed with cancer and given 3 to 6 months to live. Both our cars are leased in his name. His still has 20 months on his car and I have asked to be let out of the lease because we/I cannot afford both payments. The dealer said no. The salesman, who is a friend of ours, told me to drop the car off and just refuse to make any more payment. That would be fine but I’m sure they will eventually come after him or his estate. I need advice.

Asked on January 9, 2016 under Business Law, Ohio


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

There is no legal way to get out of a lease due to illness, unfortunately. A lease is a contract; and a party to a contract cannot get out of the contract due to changes in his or her personal circumstances, such as illness, a spouse's illness, disability or death, unemployment, etc. Regardless of what happens to you or your family, you are still obligated to the contract, the same way that if the dealership burned down or went bankrupt, you'd still have the car--their bad fortune would not require you to give up your vehicle. Similarly, your family's bad fortune does not require the dealership to let you out of a lease.

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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