If my late mother leased a car, legally am I able to keep it and drive it until the lease is up?

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If my late mother leased a car, legally am I able to keep it and drive it until the lease is up?

My mom leased a car an paid the extra for the credit life. It’s a 3 year lease. My mom recently passed away an the dealership told me I have to return the car. She hasn’t even had the car a year. So there’s still 2 years left.

Asked on June 17, 2019 under Estate Planning, Michigan

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

No, you cannot continue to drive the car. Your late mother leased it, not you. Therefore, you have no contractiual relationship with the lessor and the right to keep and drive the car is based upon such a relationship. Bottom line, you must return it.

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

Yes, you have to return the car. SHE leased the car, not you; the contract (the lease is a contract) was between her and the dealership. This contract, and so the right to use, drive, etc. the car, is not inheritable or transferrable, and in fact the contract terminates when the lessee (person leasing) passes away. The good news is, you are not personally liable or responsible for any payments or amounts due under the lease; the bad news is, you have no right to the car and must return it.


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