What Happens to a Car Lease After the Car Lessee’s Death?

What Happens to a car Lease After the car Lessee Passes away?

When a person leasing a vehicle passes away, most of the time the lease does not die with the person. The future of the car lease is determined by the provisions in the contract. Some car leases have death to be a cause of early termination. Often times, payments still need to be made and the payments become the responsibility of the deceased car lessee’s estate. Sometimes car dealerships will negotiate with the personal representative of the deceased’s estate and may be able to transfer the remaining lease to another person. Sometimes, a car dealership may waive the early termination due to the unfortunate situation, however this is not always the case. The future of the car lease solely depends on the provisions in the agreement and the willingness of the car dealership to negotiate of the deceased car lessee.

Who Claims Ownership of the Leased car?

If there is a co-signer on the lease, usually the car will just become the co-signers responsibility. The co-signer will continue making payments on the deceased person’s car and will just take over the lease. If the car dealership does not provide for early termination, sometimes the personal representative of the deceased car lessee’s estate will decide who will take over the lease. Most of the time, the car lease will become part of the deceased car lessee’s estate. If the estate has sufficient assets, the estate will be required to pay the remaining payments on the car lease.

Usually heirs of the deceased car lessee are not automatically required to take over the lease or make payments on the lease. If the family wants to use the car, they can continue to pay the lease payments after the car owner has passed away. Often times, the family will have to continue payments as they communicate with the car dealership as to how they want to proceed. However, family members will only be forced to take over the car lease if they signed an obligation agreeing to be liable for the car lease.

EPGD Business Law is located in beautiful Coral Gables. Call us at (786) 837-6787, or contact us through the website to schedule a consultation.

*Disclaimer: this blog post is not intended to be legal advice. We highly recommend speaking to an attorney if you have any legal concerns. Contacting us through our website does not establish an attorney-client relationship.*

Share this post

Kathrine Karimi


*The following comments are not intended to be treated as legal advice. The answer to your question is limited to the basic facts presented. Additional details may heavily alter our assessment and change the answer provided. For a more thorough review of your question please contact our office for a consultation.

5 Responses

  1. The contract states that if the lessee dies before the lease terminates, the deceased lessee will not be responsible for the rest of the lease. A representative from the leasing company called and said they will issue a 2021 IRS 1099R for the remainder amount of the lease after his death so they can expense it to bad debts in 2021. My husband died on 12/29/2020. I informed him of the terms of the lease that my husband will not be liable for any lease debts after death. My husband is the only signor of the lease. Thank you for any input on this dilemma.

  2. My father was the only signer on an auto lease. There are 6 months remaining in the term. Would I be able to purchase the vehicle at the contract residual price at the end of the lease term?

  3. My partner died intestate, after a long illness and many debts. I was not a co-signer. I am the executor and tried to continue to pay for the lease but have found that I am overwhelmed with the payments. I want to turn the car in. Am I allowed to do this?

    1. We live in the state of Florida. My son has a 3 year lease purchased about 6 months ago. He was single but has a 2 year old handicap son and all assets will go to him through probate. In the meantime as his father can I take over the payments on the lease and use the car.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *




The Entrepreneurs Handbook

This is a quick legal reference guide covering 16 topics that every business owner needs to have to start a business


The Entrepreneur's Handbook

This is a quick legal reference guide covering 16 topics that every business owner needs to have to start a business