Legislation Would Prevent Surviving Spouses, Children from Being Held Responsible for Payments
Legislation Assemblywoman Pamela Lampitt sponsored to allow the termination of a car lease if the lessee dies was advanced Thursday by an Assembly committee.
“When someone dies before the end of his or her lease agreement, grieving family members are left to worry about paying the remaining balance and fees,” said Lampitt (D-Burlington/Camden). “This can leave people who neither signed a lease nor agreed to be co-signers suddenly liable for thousands of dollars in charges.”
The bill (A-2495) would allow the termination of a motor vehicle lease in event of the lessee’s death upon return of the vehicle to the dealer or lessor and would prohibit the imposition of fees for early termination of the lease. The measure also would prohibit a lease from requiring a surviving family member, guardian or estate administrator to purchase the vehicle, continue leasing the vehicle or buy out the remainder of the lease.
“Creditors put early termination clauses in contracts as a means of protecting their assets, but the death of a loved one is an extenuating circumstance. We should not be burdening grieving individuals with the added financial hardship of paying the automobile lease of their deceased family member,” said Lampitt. “The death of a lessee is a special case and should be treated as such.”
The measure was advanced by the Assembly Consumer Affairs Committee.