How to Break an Auto Lease Because of the Death of a Lessee

How to Break an Auto Lease Because of the Death of a Lessee
Breaking an auto lease is the same whether the leaseholder is dead or alive.

Locate the contract or agreement that the deceased signed. Read it over to determine the company's terms for ending the lease early. Most companies require that you return the vehicle, and then pay all outstanding amounts due on the lease. Some might always want an "early termination" fee. The company's policy for turning the car in early should appear somewhere on the lease.

Call the company. Find out what the remaining payments on the lease are, as well as what the "early termination" fee is, if applicable. Ask the company to send you a written statement for the total amount.

Provide the written statement to the executor of the deceased's will, if you are not the person named to oversee probate and the closure of her estate. As part of the probate process, the executor will give notice to the leasing company that its leaseholder is now deceased. Depending on your state's probate laws, the leasing company will have a period of about three months to make a claim against the estate for the outstanding balance on the automobile. The length of time varies somewhat from state to state.

Pay the leasing company's claim through estate funds, if you are the executor and if the company makes a claim. Once the claim is paid, call the company again to make arrangements to return the automobile. If the company does not make a claim within the time period allowed, it is barred from doing so and the estate won't have to pay anything.