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How To Get A Lien Release Letter For A Deceased Borrower

  • 4 min read

Dealing with the death of a loved one can be a difficult and emotional time, and handling their financial affairs can add an extra layer of stress on top. If the deceased borrower had a lien on their vehicle, obtaining a lien release letter is important to ensure the vehicle’s ownership is properly transferred. This blog post will explain how to get a lien release letter for a deceased borrower.

Step 1: Identify and locate the lender

The first step is to identify the lien holder and their mailing address. This can be done by looking at the front of the vehicle title in the lien holder section, typically toward the bottom. The lien holder’s name and address and the borrower’s name will appear on the front of the title. However, it’s important to note that just because a lien holder doesn’t appear on the title doesn’t mean there is no lien on the record. It’s possible that the title was printed before the lien was placed, which would invalidate the title without the lien holder’s name. To check for active liens, run a VIN check or contact the DMV in your county. 

Step 2: Contact the lender by mail

The next step is to contact the lender who placed the lien on the vehicle. You’ll need to inform them of the borrower’s death and provide any documentation they require. The lender will likely require you to provide a copy of the death certificate and a letter from the court appointing you as the executor or administrator of the estate. Since you’re not the original borrower, you’ll have to jump through some extra hoops to prove your situation and identity. This is designed to prevent lien title and estate fraud. 

Contact the lender by certified mail. Do not call them and request a lien release letter; you’re not the borrower, and they have no proof of the situation until they receive the documentation. Locate the primary mailing address and any other addresses available for the lender. Send them the official lien release request form for your state, a lien release letter, a letter of non-interest, a copy of the death certificate, a copy of the estate (if applicable), a copy of your ID, and any other necessary documentation relating to the estate or the vehicle.

Step 3: Submit the lien release letter to the DMV

Once you’ve received the lien release letter or letter of non-interest from the lender, you can begin applying for a new title or estate plan. Bring the lien release letter or letter of non-interest, death certificate, photo ID, title application, and any other estate-related documents from your state to your nearest DMV office to apply for a clean title. The DMV will also require fees for tax and title due at the time of application. Most states require insurance to title a vehicle, ensure to check with your state’s laws before applying, as incomplete applications will be denied. 

It’s important to note that the specific requirements for obtaining a lien release on behalf of a deceased borrower may vary depending on the state. If you’re unsure how to proceed, consult an estate attorney or other qualified attorney for guidance.

In summary, getting a lien release letter for a deceased borrower’s vehicle can be a challenging and time-consuming process. Since you’re not the borrower, there will be additional hoops to pass through to prove the borrower is deceased and that you’re allowed by law to take over ownership of their vehicle. If the situation is genuine and the required documentation is provided, you should be able to negotiate with the lender with little problems. 

For assistance in getting a lien release letter for a deceased borrower, is here to help. From researching the lien to negotiating with the lender, we’re here for you every step of the way.