Seminole woman ran into trouble getting information on late husband’s loan, shares what she learned

Better Call Behnken

Since her name wasn't on the loan, the credit union wouldn't release statements, as she continued to make monthly payments

SEMINOLE, Fla. (WFLA) – When Sam Crafa’s husband, Paul Crafa, battled stage 4 colon cancer, the couple thought they had his affairs in order.

The one thing she didn’t address: Paul’s Jeep Patriot, and the fact that his auto loan was in his name alone.

“It’s all about having hope when you have a terminal illness, and I didn’t want to take that hope away with him,” she said.

She thought she had the right paperwork in place to deal with the issue later.

“I’m his wife. I’m executor of his will,” she said. “I have the paperwork to prove that I am.”

Under Florida law, assets such as a car go to a surviving spouse, but that’s complicated when there’s a loan is involved.

Sam tells me Achieva Credit Union explained that as soon as the loan was paid off, they would release the title and the DMV could transfer the Jeep into her name.

Here’s the problem: Sam has continued to make monthly payments faithfully for a year and she wants to receive statements to know where she is on the loan.

“When is the last payment due because I have no clue. How much am I paying toward principal? How much am I paying in interest with each payment?”

Frustrated, she called Better Call Behnken to help her figure out what to do next. Shannon Behnken went to her local Achieva branch and, hours later, the vice president for loss prevention called to explain that since her name wasn’t on the loan, they couldn’t share statements because of privacy procedures.

But they did come up with a work-around: from now on, each time she makes a payment, she’ll receive a history of that payment that includes a breakdown of her payment and how much more she has to pay.

The lesson here is to pay attention to loans. Often, married people assume their spouse will receive property, such as a car. But if there is a loan, it must be satisfied first.

So you may want to consider adding a spouse onto the loan in the beginning.

As for Crafa, she says she already has the information she wanted and can put this behind her.

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