06 Jul My mom died. How can I take over her car lease?
Q. My mother passed away with no will. I want to take over her leased car payments. Is it possible in New Jersey to take over a person’s car lease and transfer the registration without having to buy the car outright?
— Wanting to do it right
A. We’re sorry to hear about your mother.
This kind of transaction isn’t necessarily simple.
If you want to take over the lease, the answer to your question will be found in the lease agreement, said Claudia Mott, a certified financial planner with Epona Financial Solutions in Basking Ridge.
She said in some lease agreements, death can trigger an early termination which could allow for the vehicle to be returned while others require the estate to continue making payments because death does not end the contract.
There are also lease terms that enable a transfer to a surviving family member, she said.
If you don’t have a copy of the lease, you can reach out to the company to discuss the lese provisions.
Also note that there is currently a bill in the Assembly — A1601 — that would make it illegal to force a lease to be assumed by a surviving family member, the deceased’s estate or a guardian so long as the car is returned, Mott said.
“The bill is under review and yet to be passed, but it could impact an auto lease should it become a law in the future,” she said.
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This story was originally published on July 6, 2021.
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