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Richard, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 55614
Experience:  Attorney with 29 years of experience.
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I live in Pennsylvania and a friend from North Carolina has

Customer Question

I live in Pennsylvania and a friend from North Carolina has contacted me for help. Last year his nephew relocated to live with him from California. My friend foolishly "co-signed" (not sure if that is the right term) for his nephew. Both names are XXXXX XXXXX loan agreement, the title and the registration. My friend is the "primary" and the vehicle is insured under my friend's policy. There has been a falling out and the nephew left NC and has gone to Pennsylvania and taken the vehicle. The nephew is staying with a relative, only recently found employment, but is 20 y/o and unstable at best. All of his efforts to reach the nephew have been ignored and the rest of the family refuses to get involved. My friend is very stressed out by the situation. He is now responsible for making loan payments for a car he has no access to. If his nephew fails to make the payments his credit is at risk. He must continue to insure the car becuase he is on the title and the loan. What are my friends rights?
I live in PA and have offered find the vehicle and take it from the nephew. The nephew parks the car on a public street. I have offered provided that I be armed with a duplicate of the registration proving my friend's ownership, a signed and notarized affidavit from my friend authorizing me to drive the vehicle, proof of insurance and a copy of the loan paperwork which contains information regarding the title. When I get the car I would hide it until some sort of agreement can be reached. Hopefully, the nephew will realize that his credit is now tied up in an asset he has no access to. If no agreement can be reached, then he will simply come to PA and take the car back to his home. Eventually, the nephew may come to his senses. What if my friend drops the car from his coverage? Can I be arrested for grand theft?
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Richard replied 4 years ago.
Welcome! My goal is to do my very best to understand your situation and to provide a full and complete answer for you.

Good afternoon. Your friend has as much right to the car as his nephew. If your friend gives the documentation you reference, plus a notarized limited power of attorney authorizing you to act on his behalf to take the car, then you could not be prosecuted for taking the car. Under PA laws, you must not either breach the peace or break and enter to take the car. Once you have the car, your friend should file suit against the nephew for the nephew's share of the payments. That will give him the leverage and options he needs to get the nephew off the title. Once the suit is filed and a judgment awarded, he becomes a judgment creditor, and he has the right to take the nephew's ownership interest in the car to collect that judgment. As long as your friend is on the title, he definitely does not want to drop his insurance coverage. Without insurance coverage he risks being sued and held personally liable for an accident caused by the nephew.

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