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If I take out a car loan for my dad and he's in an accident and sued, could my spouse's assets be targeted by opposing lawyer?

Haines City, FL |

I live in FL , and my parents are burdens on many levels ( both have bad credit , my dad's in prison , mom's mentally disabled , etc . ) . I am engaged , but my finance does not want to get " legally " married because of the possible impact my parent's future actions may have on his credit and on his assets . Although I do not pay my parent's bills , I HAVE taken out a car loan for my dad in the past ( he paid it off and was always on time ) and may need to do so again once he is released from prison .

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Attorney answers 9


As long as you are just the co-signer and not the co-owner you should be able to avoid any negligent entrustment type allegations.

* Please note that I am an Attorney practicing in Georgia, but I am not your attorney. This post is intended to provide some helpful insight into your particular situation, but it should not be taken as legal advice. If you would like to discuss your Georgia Personal Injury, Medical Malpractice, or Criminal case, I am happy to discuss your specific situation with you at no cost to you. I can be reached at 404-996-5157 or If you found this Answer "Helpful" or " The Best Answer", please click the tab indicating that. Thank you!


A car loan is actually not an asset; it is a debt. Secondly, if you take out a car loan for your father, but the money is used to buy a car that is registered solely in your father's name, neither you nor your fiance would be exposed to any legal liability if he got into an accident. All that being said, may be its time that you do not expose yourself to financial obligations that jeopardize your future with your loved one and let your father fend for himself when he gets out of prison (that is not legal advice).

David B Pittman

David B Pittman


I totally agree. Great advice.


If you are not on the title, you ought to be safe.

In no way am I offering you legal advice, and in no way has my comment created an attorney-client relationship. You are not to rely upon my note above in any way, but insted need to sit down with counsel and share all relevant facts before receiving fully-informed legal advice. If you want to be completely sure of your rights, you must sit down with an experienced criminal defense attorney to be fully aware of your rights.


Not unless you are on the title or otherwise listed as the beneficial owner of the car


I really think you should consider not getting involved in this. Not only from a liability standpoint, but for your own credit rating if he does not pay, you're fiancé is obviously uncomfortable getting involve in your parents situation, which I think you need to both make a decision together on. You are not obligated to take financial responsibility and be liable if he defaults on the loan .You are obviously getting married and starting a new chapter in your life. Maybe you should think if you really want to continue enabling your father by taking out loans for him. I know this isn't legal advice, just my two cents. Best of luck to you. I know it's hard when you are put in a bad position and try to do the right thing,

David B Pittman

David B Pittman


You are financially responsible if he defaults.. Sorry for the error


Best not to do this period.

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You can be a cosigner on a loan or take the loan out yourself and it will not affect your liability, as long as you are not listed as an owner or part owner on the vehicle's title. Florida recognizes the dangerous instrumentality rule which makes any owner or part owner of the vehicle equally responsible for the damages caused by a permissive driver. If you have no ownership interest, a dangerous instrumentality rule does not apply.

I highly suggest that if a vehicle is purchased for your dad, adequate insurance be placed on the vehicle. This includes personal injury liability insurance, which is not required by the State of Florida. Similarly, uninsured motorist coverage should be placed on the vehicle as well. You should speak with an independent insurance agent about available coverages and the adequacy of any coverage.

Legal Disclaimer:

If this information has been helpful, please indicate below.

Mr. Lundeen is licensed to practice law in Florida and Vermont. The response herein is not legal advice and does not create an attorney/client relationship. The response is in the form of legal education and is intended to provide general information about the matter within the question. Oftentimes the question does not include significant and important facts and timelines that, if known, could significantly change the reply and make it unsuitable. Mr. Lundeen strongly advises the questioner to confer with an attorney in your state in order to ensure proper advice is received.

This ans. does not create an attorney/client relationship.


Your question involves Florida's Dangerous Instrumentality Doctrine, which holds that the owners (including co-owners) of a dangerous instrument, including a car, are as liable as the at-fault party . As others have correctly stated, as long as you are just a guarantor on the loan, neither you nor your spouse will incur liability. The dangerous instrumentality doctrine is a reason that so many parents (myself included), take their names off of a child's car the day he or she turns 18.


Merely co-signing a loan does not make you a co-owner of the vehicle. If you are not a co-owner of the vehicle, and had nothing to do with causing the accident, you will not be liable.

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