How do I end a car lease due to death?

A car lease may seem like a good situation because you end up with a vehicle and generally have a low monthly payment; however, a car lease is difficult and expensive to terminate before the contract expires. Generally, the death of the lease holder is treated the same way as any other reason for early termination. Any co-signer on the lease is then responsible for the remainder of the lease term and must make the payments on the vehicle.

Read through the lease contract and documentation, paying particular attention to the early termination portion. Death is considered an early termination, and the co-signer on the lease or the estate of the deceased must continue to pay the lease or terminate the lease early.

Call the lease company to confirm the remaining amount on the lease and to discuss the early termination procedure. The contact information for the lease company will be included in the lease documents. Inform the lease company that the owner has died. Obtain the amount of time left on the lease, the amount owed on the lease and the fees for early termination. Inquire with the lease company to find out if there are any alternatives to early termination within the company.

Fax or mail a copy of the death certificate to the lease company if they request it. The lease company may ask for proof that the person who contracted the lease is now deceased.

Research lease trading or lease swapping, if the early termination is too expensive. Utilise a computer with Internet access to research lease swapping or lease transfer companies. These companies assist you with finding someone to assume your current lease. When someone assumes your lease, you will need to pay a transfer fee, and the lease company will have to approve the transfer. Transferring a lease can save you thousands of dollars if the termination is early in the lease contract.


Terminating a lease early may be expensive due to the remainder owed on the lease plus early termination fees.

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Things Needed

  • Lease documents
  • Phone
  • Death certificate, if necessary
  • Computer with Internet access

About the Author

Sarah Thomas has been a freelance writer for more than five years. She has ghostwritten e-books and articles on weddings and other topics. Her work has also been published on various websites. Thomas graduated from Daemen College with a degree in psychology.

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