MeFi Car People...Please Help!
June 10, 2012 6:31 PM   Subscribe

I find myself having an extra car and a close friend who needs one. Difficulty: I promised to not sell this car.

What is a fair price to ask monthly for a long term rental of a 2004 Infinity G35 (45,000 miles) that is in almost showroom condition? Should I ask for a deposit?

This is a strange situation for me. My kid brother died a couple of months ago and now I have his car. If I had my way I'd sell it and put the proceeds towards my nephew's college fund. My dad says he has college covered and wants me to keep the car. I don't need it but a very close family friend needs one. I don't have my business hat on and I can't drive the car because it's painful. The family friend is kind of a celeb and I think my bro would love the idea of him driving it.

So, what do you think is fair to ask? $250 a month? $300? I really don't know, but I DO know that my bro's car will be in good hands.

Many thanks.
posted by snsranch to Work & Money (23 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I'm sorry for the loss of your brother. To whom did you promise you wouldn't sell the car?
posted by Faint of Butt at 6:34 PM on June 10, 2012 [1 favorite]

snsranch, you might want to check with local rental companies re typical cost.

But, please also determine your liability in case of an accident. As the owner of the car, in most localities, YOU could be sued should there be an accident.

Also check with your insurance company to see if they will cover you if you are using it as a rental car.
posted by HuronBob at 6:35 PM on June 10, 2012 [1 favorite]

Is the car part of your brother's estate? This would present a problem.
posted by Ironmouth at 6:35 PM on June 10, 2012

Oh good lord do not do this without talking to an attorney, and your father, and whoever is handling the estate of your brother.

This can go wrong in so many ways. Not only could you get sued by a person who is injured by the driver of a car that you own, but you could also get sued by the celebrity friend behind the wheel. Ownership of a car is a huge (huge) responsibility.

The risks in this situation appear, at first glance, to outweigh the benefits.
posted by bilabial at 6:42 PM on June 10, 2012 [3 favorites]

Seconding what bilabial said. My impression is that California car insurance laws are very arcane (if you are still in California, that is).

And terribly sorry for the loss of your brother. If your father is the executor of your brother's estate, perhaps telling him that you'd like to give the car to this family friend--or sell it in return for a contribution to your nephew's college fund--would be the right thing to do. It isn't honoring your brother's memory by having his car sit idle in your driveway.
posted by Sidhedevil at 6:45 PM on June 10, 2012 [1 favorite]

I made that promise to my Dad. My brother's profession was in international sales and logistics, but he was pretty well known as an auto restorer and painter...he did a lot of work on old-school low-riders. So my dad just has this notion of being connected through the car.

This isn't a part of his estate, the car is actually in my name now.

I've thought about current rates, but nobody is leasing or renting cars that old. Our friend is purchasing full coverage insurance. I know there might be some liability, but the car is in tact and in top condition.
posted by snsranch at 6:51 PM on June 10, 2012

If the car means so much to your Dad could you sell it to him instead?
posted by bleep at 7:02 PM on June 10, 2012 [4 favorites]

I'm sorry about the loss of your brother. You're being a mensch, taking care of the car he put his time and effort into.

If it's painful for you to drive the car now, it will be painful to take it back in a few years, once your brother's effort has been eroded by time and mileage.

I say cut it loose and sell it outright. Write a "take good care of my brother's car, he really cared out it" letter and leave it in the glovebox; it'll do both you and Family Friend some good.
posted by Kakkerlak at 7:04 PM on June 10, 2012 [2 favorites]

posted by Kakkerlak at 7:05 PM on June 10, 2012

The friend might lapse the insurance, drive drunk, become victim of a carjacking, or any number of barely plausible, yet horrifying things that his insurance may opt not to cover. Or, worse, may settle on and then come after you, owner of the car, for the claim.

Either sell the car to your friend or your dad. But talk to your dad about it first.
posted by bilabial at 7:13 PM on June 10, 2012 [1 favorite]

And the car could stolen and be involved in an accident.

Kakkerlak gives the best advice here (along with everyone saying lawyer, as you still seem misguided about the legal ramifications.)
posted by jbenben at 7:16 PM on June 10, 2012

Exactly, Kakkerlak. I guess I should have mentioned it, but I was thinking of "renting" the car until my Dad was in place where he wouldn't freak out and then sell it to this person.
posted by snsranch at 7:16 PM on June 10, 2012 [1 favorite]

I would just give/sell it to your Dad. Or wait another 5 months or so to make any other decision.
posted by KogeLiz at 7:21 PM on June 10, 2012 [1 favorite]

There's an expression about stuff like this: this car is neither your brother nor your brother's love. A car is a very bad thing to get sentimental about. They last 5-10 years, tops, unless monumental effort is put into keeping them preserved.

I would normally want to respect my father's wishes, and if we were talking about a piece of bric-a-brac that one could place on the mantle, I would. But if I were in your shoes, I would talk to your Dad and try to convince him that the best way to honor your brother's memory is to give or sell the car to your friend. And then to put it out of your mind as to what happens to it. Regardless of your dad's wishes, in the end, it's your car, your expense to insure and maintain, and unless you sell it, your liability. I agree with the others, NEVER long-term loan or rent a car.

I'm very sorry about your brother.
posted by randomkeystrike at 7:26 PM on June 10, 2012 [7 favorites]

There is still a huge risk to you if anything bad happens to the car while the friend is renting it, and it sounds like this could go on for a while. Sell it or store it. Or maybe get a lawyer to write up a sales contract that gives the new owner the obligation to sell it back to you at fair market price on demand. Then bank the money and don't touch it in case you need to reel the car back in. If you dad asks you can truthfully say you can get the car back whenever you want. Hopefully once some time passes maybe your dad will see things differently and you can then tell the new owner that he is in the clear.

This assumes anybody would ever sign such a sales agreement.
posted by COD at 7:28 PM on June 10, 2012

Something that's talked about a fair bit in de-cluttering circles is using photographs as a substitute for an object (in this case the car) that has huge sentimental value but it too big/difficult to continue storing.
So, an idea would be to talk to your dad about having some professional photos taken of the car, either on it's own, or maybe with him or both of you. If you got good professional photographer to take them it could be a nice memorial keepsake once the pain ebbs a bit. Maybe a couple of you and your dad with the car even? Not an idea that would work for everyone, but it could be a way to symbolically honor your brother without physically keeping the car.
posted by Sweetchrysanthemum at 8:07 PM on June 10, 2012 [4 favorites]

My first answer: This may be an emotional thing for your Dad, but, if he doesn't want to buy it, I would just sell it, and tell your Dad when the time feels right. It's a huge financial & legal burden to keep a car you don't need or want, not to mention keeping the car may not be the best decision for *you* emotionally. You lost someone, too, and while no parent wants to survive a child, your feelings of grief are also completely valid and worth no more or less than your Dad's. What you do with the proceeds are up to you. You can still put it in trust for your nephew (even post-college, he will need & appreciate a starter fund once he graduates or it could support him while doing an unpaid, but professionally valuable, internship, or you could buy him gifts "from his Dad" in the years to come). So, offer it to your Dad with the understanding that you will probably sell it if he doesn't want it, and if he says no, then do what you will, announce the final outcome when it feels appropriate, & provide for your nephew as you feel appropriate. Lastly, I am sorry for your loss. Words that I'm sure have been said by many people and probably have ceased to possess any meaning, but your family, including you, has suffered a tremendous loss, & I know how hard that can be.

The secondary answer: Assuming there is no car payment involved, figure out the annual cost of registration, insurance, & maintenance & divide it by twelve. That means you won't experience a loss, but will cover the cost of the car. If you go this route, I have no idea what the legalities are involved, but at the very least, I would assume you would need to add the driver to the current insurance policy. IANAL & have no idea what the legal & probate implications of an arrangement like this would be. It certainly seems more complicated and, due to circumstances, more emotionally draining than just divesting yourself of it entirely.

Whatever you do, best of luck to you & yours during this difficult time.
posted by katemcd at 9:17 PM on June 10, 2012 [2 favorites]

posted by JohnnyGunn at 9:18 PM on June 10, 2012

Sell it to your friend for payments over time, but write the sales contract to give you the right to repurchase the car under whatever circumstances you deem upfront to be mutually desirable (on demand?), repurchase price amortized against the outstanding balance.

This goes against the letter of your father's request, but it 1) sidesteps the liability issues 2) allows you to reclaim the car, until it is fully paid off, if getting it back becomes an issue.
posted by Quinbus Flestrin at 9:33 PM on June 10, 2012 [1 favorite]

Maybe I'm just a lying scumbag, but I would sell the car to my friend. IF, and only if, my dad asked questions, I would tell him friend was just borrowing it while his broke down/he saved up for a new one/whatever.

After a period of time when you think Dad has settled a bit, I would tell him what you told us, "You know, Dad, I was thinking how much little bro would love the thought of Hercule driving around in his car. It chokes me up to drive it, to be honest, I think a great thing to do in bro's memory would be to let Hercule drive it. He'll give it the maintenance, attention and sheer drivability that it needs. Bro wouldn't want to have it sitting in the garage like a museum piece; it was meant to be driven. What do you reckon?"
posted by smoke at 11:37 PM on June 10, 2012 [1 favorite]

I understand he's hurting about your brother, but your father is wrong to emotionally blackmail you into keeping the car. Heck, how would your brother himself feel about this?!? As a car-lover, how would HE feel to see his car just sitting there unused, decaying, pointlessly losing value..... wouldn't your brother be happier to see his car loved and driven instead?

Offer to sell it to your father first, but if he doesn't buy it? Go ahead and sell it to your friend.
posted by easily confused at 4:39 AM on June 11, 2012 [2 favorites]

I'm sorry about your brother.

This issue is all about your Dad really. The car is somewhat irrelevant.

As above; cars take a lot of work to keep good. All the work that your brother put into the car will be for nothing unless someone else dedicated takes on the job of looking after it. How you square this with your Dad's needs I dont know but I do think your Dad needs to be involved in this. If it's important to him then dont go behind his back; be there for him and help him here.

Is there a local car show you could take it along to? Celebrate the work your brother put into it before handing the car on to someone who will look after it. Then let the car go, while celebrating your brother.
posted by BadMiker at 8:59 AM on June 11, 2012

Thanks folks. I hadn't even thought about the liability angle. I'll probably sit on it for now and mull over all of your suggestions.
posted by snsranch at 3:11 PM on June 11, 2012

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