Can my wife take over my car lease if I die?


Q. If I die and my estate — and/or my wife — take over the obligation of my monthly car lease payments, does my wife get the benefit of driving the car? Or not because she wasn’t part of the original lease?
— Still around

A. The answer will be in the terms of the lease contract.

Many times death is considered an early termination of the lease, which means that the payments are still due, said Karra Kingston, a bankruptcy attorney in Union City.

She said if there is a cosigner on the lease, the cosigner will be responsible for the payments. If there is not a cosigner, the estate will be liable for the payments.

“In the event you die, your wife should notify the car leasing company as soon as possible,” Kingston said. “In some cases the administrator of the estate can return the vehicle for some flat fee or the lender will agree to terminate the lease.”

Generally, because the person’s estate is liable for the lease, the contract is still between the deceased and the car leasing company, Kingston said.

“To change this, your wife would have to review the terms of the contract or ask them to transfer the lease to her name,” she said.

Email your questions to moc.p1601026794leHye1601026794noMJN1601026794@ksA1601026794.

This story was originally published on Aug. 27, 2020. presents certain general financial planning principles and advice, but should never be viewed as a substitute for obtaining advice from a personal professional advisor who understands your unique individual circumstances.