Rights of Survivorship or probate

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Rights of Survivorship or probate

My husband passed away suddenly. I do not plan on probating the Will. We have 3 car loans in his name only. What is required to transfer the loans to my name? A payment is due and I was Informed by one company that they would not accept payment if only his name was on the check. He had a Will leaving all assets to me.

Asked on September 29, 2017 under Estate Planning, Tennessee


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

First, please accept our sympathy for your loss.
There is no inherent or automatic right to transfer the loans to your name, but the car company or financing company (that is, whoever holds the loan) can agree to this, and often will (e.g. when my father died last year, the car company contacted me and asked if I would want to take over the loan and keep the car). First, though, you need authority to manage his estate, which can only come from the court. You need to put the will in for probate, if it names you executor, and have the court confirm you as executor; as executor, you will power  and legal authority over his assets. Once you have written confirmation of your power, approach the lender and see if they are willing to let you take over the loans, which they most likely will be--they'd rather have the loans paid typically then take the cars back for nonpayment.

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