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Question
In 2004, I filed a Chapter 13. It was dismissed because I could not arrange a viable plan. Hyundai never repossesed the 2004 Elantra. I never went in to hiding or moved out of state.No follow up action except charge off.  I still have the car. I use it and have continuously insured it.  I have repaired my credit. I was approved for a mortgage in 2009 with Dollar Bank.

Blue Book value of the care is about $2,200.  How can I go about getting the lien released for less than the full amount of the original loan?

Answer
I would be careful with this.  The debt secured on the car may still be outstanding.  The statute of limitations on that debt depends on the state you are in (California generally has a 4 year statute on unsecured ordinary loans where no payments have been made but other states certainly differ).  If the debt is still valid, you could be sued for the full amount, including all the interest.

It sounds as though you "fell through the crack" somewhere, frankly.  So I would just keep driving the car until you want it no longer.  Then just abandon it or junk it.  Why create a problem where none exists?

Even if the underlying debt cannot be enforced against you, I would strongly suspect that it remains good on the car (although that depends again on the law of your state).  If so, there's really no way to force Hyundai to take less (unless you went through bankruptcy -- and you don't need that!).

I would add this: once you're finished with the car, I would advise Hyundai to come and get it.  I would be careful about just junking it; don't want to give them an excuse to sue because you junked their collateral without telling them.  But don't talk to them until you're sure that you are beyond the statute of limitations in your state.  It's probably okay now, but do check.  

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Michael T. Hertz

Expertise

I can answer most questions concerning bankruptcy, whether business or personal, including questions by debtors, creditors, persons interested in purchasing assets from bankruptcy estates, and the like. Also have expertise in tort law, French and Canadian law.

Experience

Practiced bankruptcy for 27 years in California and taught bankruptcy for three years in Maine. This included Chapters 7, 9, 11, 12 and 13 cases, representing debtors, creditors (secured and unsecured), bankruptcy trustees, creditors committees, and persons interested in purchasing assets from bankruptcies. Debtors included persons with virtually no money up to large corporations.

Organizations
Inactive member of the Bar of the State of California. Nonpracticing member of the Bar of Massachusetts. Formerly member of the Maine Bar and conseil juridique in France. Certified by National Committee on Accreditation in Canada.

Publications
Georgetown Law Review; California Bankruptcy Journal; Maine Law Review; Dalhousie Law Journal; University of Toronto Law Journal.

Education/Credentials
Harvard Law School (J.D. 1970; cum laude) and Pomona College (B.A., 1967; cum laude)

Awards and Honors
Selected as a "Superlawyer" in 2005 and 2006 for Northern California.

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