HELP. Owner of Lease Deceased

My grandfather recently passed away, leaving behind a leased 2016 Honda CR-V - contract expires in May of 2019. I’m attempting to reach out to Honda Financial as I type this; however, I would like anyone who has unfortunately been in a similar situation as mine to give me some input. I’m reading that in some situations, death is not even an excuse to get out of a lease (bizarre, right?), so what if I just peel the registration off, take off the plates, and tell them to come and get the car? The car is located within New York City, so I’m sure it’ll be towed, never to be seen again, in a matter of hours. My grandfather was the only person on the lease, including his car insurance. Honda leases are non-transferrable, so I cannot even list it on swap-a-lease. Any input is greatly appreciated!

His estate would technically still be on the hook for remaining payments, not to mention any parking tickets, tow charges, etc that Honda got banged for if you go that route you were talking about. His estate executor or next of kin should contact Honda Financial and see if they are willing to work with them. In the event of death perhaps they would allow a transfer of the lease if someone in the family was interested?

Just got off the phone with HFS. I can transfer the lease, but I have to find someone on my own - Honda does not allow third party transfers such as swap-a-lease. I can also have them come pick the car up and they will sell it at auction; however, they told me the estate would owe the difference between what the car sells for and the buyout price.

If that’s the case you could always advertise the transfer here. Perhaps someone would be interested.

If your grandfather has a large estate it may be advisable to transfer. If after settling other debts (mortgages, medical etc) the balance of assets is minimal I would come let Honda take it.

Sorry for your loss.

Ran into a similar situation from my Dad’s Nissan. Unless his Estate is insolvent, the Estate would be on the hook for the remaining balance. IF the estate is, in fact, insolvent, don’t let them pressure you in any way on making the final payments. Legally, at this point, they can only come after the Estate monies, if any exist. Otherwise, they would have to write it off as a loss.

Also, keep in mind, if you attempt to try to transfer the lease instead, you (the estate) will have to continue making payments on the car until the lease transfer is completed, or you run the risk of repossession and the additional fees that would incur.

Thank you all for your input. If I do decide to transfer the lease, it’s good to know that I can advertise it on here, though I’d definitely want to do this locally (NY). With all of the possible fees and taxes, I may just keep the car. If after the fees I’m only ahead $2k from what it would’ve cost to just keep the car, that’s not such a big issue. I’ll keep up with the payments and think about my options. I’m pretty sure I’d still have to technically transfer the car to me, and in that case I’d have to pay the sales tax on the remaining payments, which is ridiculous. I don’t mind keeping the car in my grandfather’s name, but I’m not so sure NY will re-register a car to a deceased person (reg expires in January), nor would any car insurance company renew to a deceased person. Either way this car is going to end up costing me thousands. I wouldn’t mind if it was a BMW, but a CRV? Meh.

Check the buyout vs what resale value is. Depending on the car’s buyout, you may be able to sell it outright instead of transferring the lease.

Sorry for the loss…

Was in a similar situation with my brother’s Hyundai Genesis back in April but Hyundai doesn’t allow any transfers(only to spouses) . For various reason’s we decided to give the car back to Hyundai as early termination(2 years left on the lease). We did a reasonable assumption as on the auction price but we were way off. Later we got a HUGE bill. The auction price was horrible and it was actually more than 2 years lease payment combined. I suggest you try to find a transfer here.
Maybe Cr-V might be not as bad since it has very good resale value but it’s a risk nonetheless.

Good luck

I’ve always been wondering how they can go after close relative who’s not a spouse and does not live in the same household? If one is not one the lease, did not sign any papers - how can they demand anything if you drop the car at a dealer and walk?

They can’t. If they are, you need to lawyer up, unfortunately. Unless other states laws are different, it was explained to me, despite any threats that may be tossed my way, the estate and ONLY the estate is responsible. If the estate is insolvent, they have to eat it. Now, having a cosigner or someone else on the contract may change things in that regard.

Yeah, that’s what I thought. So, technically, OP can just tell Honda financial that, as a courtesy, he will take the car to the closets dealer of their choice and will drop it there and they can go after estate. Which I highly doubt they will do, because it will cost them more to recover a few grand.

Yes, however don’t be so sure they won’t come after the estate. They have nothing to lose by doing so.

It’s a little more complicated than this, however, an executor is named for the estate to legally wind things down. You have to notify the court of the deceased. When this happens, the executor is responsible for winding down the estate by paying any remaining debts with the estate’s money, filling out taxes, etc. The executor has to place an ad in a legal journal to notify any creditors of the death. The creditor then can file a claim with the court of owed money. In order to close out the estate and divide what would remain, all claims must be taken care of. If the estate doesn’t have any money to pay the debts, or doesn’t have enough, the court would then decide who gets what, and whatever was owed at that point would be written off by the creditor. Depending on the complexity of the assets that remain, a family member can handle this, or pay an attorney to deal with everything.

So, HFS doesn’t have anything to lose by going after the estate in this regard.

They can go after estate, but not after individual. So, let them do it :slightly_smiling_face:

Are you even opening a decedent’ estate for your grandfather and did he have a will? If so, are you the named executor? if there is no reason to open an estate then Honda would have to pay court costs and a lawyer to open one to make a claim worth only a few grand. Even if you have or are planning on opening an estate, Honda is going to have to pay a lawyer to make a claim. If the estate has assets then consult with a probate lawyer in the county where your grandfather resided.

Yes - we are working on all of that now (pertaining to the estate). Once the estate is solvent and then closed, who can they go after at that point if the estate has been dissolved? I have a meeting with the lawyer in a few days, so I’ll be sure to ask. The balance of the remaining payments is $6000 - would Honda really pay to open up a lawsuit over that? If I have them take it back and sell it at an auction? I’d be responsible for the difference of what they get at the auction and what the buyout is, which could very well be over $6000. Even if I wanted to transfer the lease into my name, which I will have to do before the registration expires, I’d have to pay tax on the remaining payments! There’s no clean cut way out of this. Very frustrating.

If you go to court, and lose, Honda will sue you for monetary damages and lawyer fees. Given if they know the estate have funds to lock up

Call in and ask how to dispose of it. They have no knowledge of an estate and will not. Did this last year with IFS

Why in the world will YOU be responsible for anything? You did not sign anything with Honda Financial.

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The estate would be responsible