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Dwayne B.
Dwayne B., Lawyer
Category: Consumer Protection Law
Satisfied Customers: 32323
Experience:  Practicing for over 20 years and handled many cases and trials for consumers.
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I am in Texas. My husband recently passed away and the car i

Customer Question

Customer: ***** ***** - I am in Texas. My husband recently passed away and the car i was driving was in his name only. I did not realize this as I signed the paperwork at the dealership but the loan was in his name only. I had auto payments coming from my bank and thought nothing of it since i was paying. The state notified the bank of his death. They came and repossessed my car in the middle of the night the other night, i was never notified of any issues, no warning, nothing. At first they wouldn't talk to me, got an attorney involved and faxed over death cert. and affidavit of heirships that were filed with the county when i closed on my home 3 months ago. They will not refinance so I am trying to get a loan right now. The payoff amount is higher now than it was back in March when we called for the payoff amount. My question is, how much can they legally charge me for fees etc to get my car out of hock so to speak. I had planned on refinancing it's just so much has happened and i have been so upset and depressed that i am just now able to breath. And to happen right before Christmas is just one more blow!
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Submitted: 11 months ago.
Category: Consumer Protection Law
Expert:  Dwayne B. replied 11 months ago.

Hello and thank you for contacting us. This is Dwayne B. and I’m an expert here and looking forward to assisting you today. If at any point any of my answers aren’t clear please don’t hesitate to ask for clarification. Also, I can only answer the questions you specifically ask and based on the facts that you give so please be sure that you ask the questions you want to ask and provide all necessary facts.

I'm not sure that I can answer the question ", how much can they legally charge me for fees etc to get my car out of hock" because that depends to a huge degree on what the contract says. However, I do have some suggestions on how you might be able to get that amount reduced depending on the exact facts, if that would be sufficient to assist you. Please let me know.

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
like what EXACT facts are you talking about?
Expert:  Dwayne B. replied 11 months ago.

In whose name was the title to the car? Not the loan on the car, but the title?

Expert:  Dwayne B. replied 11 months ago.

Also, was the car purchased during the marriage?

Expert:  Dwayne B. replied 11 months ago.

When did your husband pass and when was he car repossessed?

Were the payments behind at the time the car was repossessed?

Expert:  Dwayne B. replied 11 months ago.

Also, where are you located in Texas? What county?

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
Well, i am assuming title is in the Banks name since we still are paying. We don't get title until the loan is paid in full. But... if the loan is in my husbands name, wouldn't the title be as well? Car was purchased during marriage, my husband passed away at the end of Feb. he committed suicide, which is why i have been having such problems dealting with all this. The car was repossessed last week. I had enough money in my account to make payments for a year and the payments were auto withdrawn, never missed a payment until..... they put a freeze on the loan, they stopped sending the payments to the bank to pay 3 months ago. I was unaware of this. I had to buy a new home 3 months ago so i have been busy getting settled and i started a new position at my job so it's just been crazy busy. but, like i said, i had enough money in there so i didn't bother checking account. So, to answer, NOW the payments are behind because they froze account and stopped sending bills to be paid. But they did not notify me of any problems or i would have been right on top of it. I am in Tarrant County. Are you an attorney in Texas??
Expert:  Dwayne B. replied 11 months ago.

The lienholder will be the bank but either you, your husband, or both you and your husband's name will be the owner on the title. The name on the title doesn't always match the name on the loan.

My condolences on the loss of your husband. I've lost someone the same way and it is especially difficult.

I graduated law school and had an office and practiced primarily in Texas for over 20 years. Now I primarily do consulting, I don't take clients any more at all.

Have you opened a probate on your husband's estate yet?

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
no - there is no estate so to speak. There was no life insurance and we barely had any money in the bank when he died. I did Affidavit of Heirship.
Customer: replied 11 months ago.
i don't know about the title, how do i find that out??
Expert:  Dwayne B. replied 11 months ago.

An affidavit of heirship would normally be the way to go with little or no assets. However, a full probate might help you with the car issue since the car is an asset of the estate. The probate judge could make order regarding who gets the car, order amounts as to fees, charges, etc.

You can look at a copy of the title, you or your husband would have received one in the mail a few months after purchasing the car.

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
i have never recieved a copy of the title until loan paid in full in the past. and there is nothing in any files we came across.. We have little assets. I can't get into court until the end of January or February because the docket is full and i need my car. I cannot afford a rent car and i am driving my parents car which will most likely break down any moment. So i guess i will just bite the bullet and pay all those stupid fees so i can have a car to drive. ugghh
Expert:  Dwayne B. replied 11 months ago.

I'd suggest before you actually pay them go and visit a local lawyer that does probate along with other types of work. Have them contact the lender and see if they can get them to reduce the amount that you will have to pay to avoid you forcing them to go into probate, them having to hire a lawyer to file a claim, etc. Usually the lawyer won't charge much for that and they should be able to save you more than you would pay them.

Expert:  Dwayne B. replied 11 months ago.

There's some issue with them repossessing a car without going through a probate proceeding, issuing proper notice, etc.