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JBaxLaw, Lawyer
Category: Consumer Protection Law
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Experience:  Wide experience in consumer rights law.
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I have a vehicle which was sold to my Mother, in 2003 and there

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I have a vehicle which was sold to my Mother, in 2003 and there is a lien still attached to it. However, my mother died in 2007 and I had no contact from the company regarding ANYTHING. The vehicle has sat until now, 5/2013 and I want to dispose it. How do I get a release.

JohnQAttorney : Hello,I am a professional here to assist you. I appreciate your use of this service.
JohnQAttorney : I see your mother purchased a vehicle and there was a lien.
JohnQAttorney : If the lien remained, that means your mother was unable to register the vehicle I presume. As such, it has sat unused. Now you want to sell the vehicle.
JohnQAttorney : A lien is a legal mechanism which requires payment to release the lien in order to provide clear title to a buyer. This ensures a lienholder is paid.
JohnQAttorney : This is your problem.
JohnQAttorney : The first step is to contact the seller from whom your mother purchased and demand payment of the debt underlying the lien so clear title may be obtained.
JohnQAttorney : Hello
JohnQAttorney : Are you with me?
JohnQAttorney : If the seller fails to make payment you have other options.
Customer: No I have the vehicle. I wanted to dispose of it
JohnQAttorney : You can contact the lien holder. The debt may have been paid and this may only be a matter of obtaining a release of lien.
JohnQAttorney : I understand.
JohnQAttorney : To dispose of the vehicle you must obtain the release of lien.
JohnQAttorney : To do that you have two routes.
JohnQAttorney : 1) via the seller
JohnQAttorney : 2)via the lien holder
Customer: This is with Americredit which was sold to and became GM Financial services AFTER all of this took place. I just want to get a release and I am not willing to pay for this car.
JohnQAttorney : I understand, but typically a release is only provided if the underlying debt has been paid.
JohnQAttorney : It may have already been paid.
JohnQAttorney : You need to contact that lender.
JohnQAttorney : The lender will need to research the issue.
JohnQAttorney : If you find the debt is still owed, then the lender will not release the lien.
Customer: So..... If I am not willing to pay anything for this vehicle I an just junke it?
JohnQAttorney : Then you will need to go after whoever sold the vehicle.
Customer: I guess I am having trouble with the part about Who sold it? Why is that relevant?
JohnQAttorney : There may be services which will take the vehicle from your possession. You can call a vehicle disposal service. Some will not touch a vehicle with a lien and some will. They will then contact the lender who may go after the debtor. I assume the debtor was not your mom?
Customer: Correct
JohnQAttorney : The person who sold the vehicle with the lien had an obligation to pay off the lien.
Customer: Estate is closed
Customer: Ok let me see if I get this
JohnQAttorney : Recourse would be against that seller. When a vehicle is purchased it is to be conveyed with clear title.
Customer: WOW.... so is there a statue of limitations
JohnQAttorney : Normally, the payment for the vehicle is used to pay off any lien holder and clear title is conveyed. Only then may the vehicle be registered to the new owner.
Customer: So
JohnQAttorney : There would be a statute of limitations on the breach of contact action
JohnQAttorney : In Indiana, the limitation is 10 years for a written contract and six if there was no written contract.
Customer: If she bought the vehicle from a Dealer in 2003 and made payments on that until, I don't know when, but she died in 12/2007. The Dealer would have to make that debit good to Americredit. AND therefore the title should be clear.
JohnQAttorney : Only if she paid off the debt
JohnQAttorney : On debts, the statute of limitations does not start until a breach occurs. For example, a missed payment. The statute of limitations only bars a civil suit. The lien would remain in place without regard to that statute of limitation
Customer: Obvisously not, the BMv Still shows a lein
Customer: So I have to find out how much GM Finanace has on its books for this car... correct
JohnQAttorney : There is the potential that the debt was paid.
JohnQAttorney : Sometimes a lender will not send a release or the release is not properly filed.
Customer: How would I find that out?
JohnQAttorney : The only way to know is to request an accounting from the lender.
JohnQAttorney : You would contact the creditor.
Customer: Since americredit went through all the stuff it did in 2010 and GMC I will be amazed if they ahve any good records of this
JohnQAttorney : Normally, such records would be maintained.
JohnQAttorney : Obtaining those records should not be a problem.
Customer: OK
JohnQAttorney : The first step is to research the debt.
Customer: I only have the VIN and her name and address
JohnQAttorney : That will tell you if the lender is in error and whether a release should have been provided.
JohnQAttorney : The lender may require a death certificate to speak with you.
Customer: Through the lender? I feel like I am offering them a carrot
JohnQAttorney : If you want a release, the only way is via the lien holder.
JohnQAttorney : That is the lender.
Customer: I have the death certificate and I was the only child
JohnQAttorney : They may repossess the vehicle if the loan is in default and they learn of the location.
JohnQAttorney : That is, if you cannot pay any outstanding debt.
Customer: I can really see how this is a step of faith
JohnQAttorney : Alternatively, you cannot sell the vehicle with a lien in place.
JohnQAttorney : That is why lenders use these liens to secure the loans.
Customer: so.... junk it
JohnQAttorney : If you suspect the debt was paid, contacting the lender is necessary to obtain a release.
Customer: I could get a Tax break for this if I give it to good will that was my plan
JohnQAttorney : They likely will not take it if there is a lien. The would be obligated to contact the lien holder to salvage the car and cannot resell with the lien
JohnQAttorney : Before a vehicle can be scrapped, the lien holder would be contacted.
Customer: OK... so to get it moved .... one way or the other...... Contact the lein holder and cut some kind of deal... DO I have any leverage here?
JohnQAttorney : The value of the vehicle including for donation purposes would be after one subtracts any funds owed to a lien holder.
JohnQAttorney : If a vehicle lacks value and a debt is deemed unrecoverable, they are likely to work with the current holder of the vehicle.
Customer: 2001 Checy Astro with 200,000 miles.... Big Value??
JohnQAttorney : They may work with you on that matter given the lack of value in the collateral.
Customer: I would have thought they would have writen this off of there books some time back
JohnQAttorney : That does not stop collection or impact whether the title is clear
Customer: I see... Mana from heaven if you are the lien holder
JohnQAttorney : For movable personal property, lenders need a secure means to collect such a debt.
JohnQAttorney : Otherwise, they would not be willing to loan such funds.
Customer: I do understand.... But the time frame is what I have a problem with
Customer: Not our issue
JohnQAttorney : The lien does not go away unfortunately. Yes, it is tough in your situation. There is a good chance they will work with you to reach a resolution.
Customer: I really don't want them showing up at my house and repoing this thing.
JohnQAttorney : You are not obligated to give your address when talking with them.
Customer: Would you advise email or call
Customer: OK
JohnQAttorney : Typically, a consumer would call first and then write a follow-up letter via the mail, with confirmation of receipt.
Customer: I guess that covers the issue. Great job on your part
JohnQAttorney : Any other questions right now?
Customer: No... but sincerely XXXXX XXXXX Excellent job on your part.. This online support thing can and is tricky
JohnQAttorney : Before you go...Will you be so kind as to leave a positive service rating?I would greatly appreciate it.I rely on excellent ratings and optional bonuses to provide this service.Thank you and please have a great dayYou will see an option to leave the rating on your screen.
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