Yukon, OK asked in Estate Planning for Delaware

Q: Is a vehicle with an outstanding loan an estate asset in Delaware?

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1 Lawyer Answer
Nina Whitehurst
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  • Estate Planning Lawyer
  • Crossville, TN

A: I do not practice in Delaware, but everywhere that I do practice, yes, a vehicle with an outstanding loan is both an estate asset (as to the value of the vehicle) and an outstanding estate debt (as to the outstanding balance of the loan).

This type of asset generates all kinds of issues that you will need help with.

First, be sure to notify both the auto insurance carrier and the lender of the owner's death. That will generate conversations about changing the insured to the estate executor and changing where future auto loan statements are sent.

Next, after you have assessed whether the vehicle is above water (has equity) or below water (loan balance is more than vehicle value), talk to your attorney about the logistics of how to keep the loan current until the vehicle is retitled and/or whether to just give the vehicle back to the lender and/or whether the estate should sell the vehicle and use other estate assets or obtain a loan (maybe from an heir) to pay off the auto loan in order to minimize the deficiency.

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