Trying to Keep Mother’s Car

(WSVN) - She beat breast cancer and celebrated by buying her dream car, but a few days later, she passed away. Her family wants to keep her car, but they say the bank made a pricey demand, or they would repossess it. It’s tonight’s Help Me Howard with Patrick Fraser.

Steffi Valli, wants to pay for mother’s car: “She was happy. She…”

Simply put, its tough for Steffi.

Steffi Valli: “I am sorry. *cries*”

Steffi is talking about her mother, Beatriz, who battled breast cancer, and then in January was told she won. There was no sign of the cancer.

Steffi Valli: “She was excited. She was really excited.”

To celebrate beating back cancer, Beatriz bought her dream car — a Mercedes SUV.

Steffi Valli: “She wanted that car more than anything.”

But two weeks after buying the car, Beatriz was dead.

Steffi Valli: “She got sick, and she passed. It was out of the blue.”

The family was told the chemo had destroyed Beatriz’s liver.

She overcame cancer, but the chemo got her.

Steffi Valli: “*getting tissue* Oh, thank you.”

The family has many memories of Beatriz, and they wanted to keep one more: the SUV that she wanted to own.

Steffi Valli: “To us it’s valuable because it was my mom’s car. My mom’s dream car.”

Steffi’s father made the first payment in February and every payment on time.

Then in May, the bank said, “We won’t accept any more payments.”

Steffi Valli: “Pay off the car or voluntary repossession.”

Pay the $36,000 owed immediately or the SUV would be taken from them.

Steffi Valli: “The car is being paid for. I don’t understand what is the issue.”

It might just be an SUV to some people, but when Steffi sees the car, she thinks of the joy it brought her mother when she first got behind the wheel, and she can’t bear the thought of seeing it taken away.

Steffi Valli: “Help me keep that car. Help us to be able to enjoy my mom’s last wish.”

Well Howard, can the bank take the SUV back even though Steffi and her family are making the payments?

Howard Finkelstein, 7 News Legal Expert: “If the family cannot pay the $36,000 owed on the SUV immediately, yes, the bank can take it back. That’s because the loan is in the mother’s name, and she has passed away, so the bank wants their money or the SUV. But remember, this is a bank and can do whatever they want with their loan.”

I contacted Capital One two days before the car was due to be repossessed.

They could not have been more gracious or moved more quickly.

I was told the car would not be repossessed. That was a misunderstanding.

Then the bank told me they worked with the family to explain how they can keep continue making the payments and keep the SUV.

Steffi Valli: “Patrick was amazing. I am very pleased. He was on top of the case.”

Howard Finkelstein: “The way to avoid having to worry about a car being lost due to your death — if you are married, put it in both names, and that way, the surviving spouse can keep making the payments.”

Steffi and her family are going to now use her mom’s SUV as a family car and drive it on the weekends to remind them of Beatriz.

Steffi Valli: “And my mom is probably looking down and happy we were able to keep that car for her. It was her dream, and we are just going to keep going with that legacy.”

Sad story, but glad we could help them a little.

Now, if your loved one passes away and has a vehicle in their name you want to keep, if it’s paid for it’s simple — just contact the Division of Motor Vehicles to get the proper form to put it in your name.

Got a problem you want to see become a memory? Need someone to pass it onto? Let us take it away ’cause we will be happy to inherit the problem.

Reporter: Patrick Fraser at
Miami-Dade: 305-953-WSVN
Broward: 954-761-WSVN

Copyright 2019 Sunbeam Television Corp. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.