My dad has died: how do I change the ownership of the car?
Warning: arranging change of ownership of a car or other vehicle after a death is part of the duties of the executor. Dealing with these issues could mean that you have appointed yourself accidentally as the administrator of the whole estate with the consequent duties and liabilities.
Stage one is to use the Tell Us Once Service if it is available locally when you register the death (it takes a little longer, so ask when you make the appointment). Always remember that the car or other vehicle is still subject to the provisions of the Last Will and Testament or to the Rules of Intestacy. Doing something different could be theft. Remember that the car will have been insured, and it may well be that the insurance is no longer valid after the death, so it always best to keep the car off the road until the executor has checked the position with the insurance company. Driving without insurance, or keeping a vehicle on the road without insurance and road tax is an offence. Road tax is NOT transferable, you need to stop the old one and start a new one or do a SORN (off road notification.) You can check whether a vehicle is taxed here. If it has, you need to cancel the old Road Tax and take out a new one – or declare SORN if it is staying off road – street parking still requires Road Tax and insurance.
The DVLA will be alerted to the death by the Tell Us Once Service, but that doesn’t tell them what is going to happen to it. The DVLA need to be told if it is sold, if you intend keeping it (if only for a while) or if there is perhaps a personalised registration which is to be kept. DO NOT GET PROSECUTED!
If Tell Us Once isn’t available in your area.
Write to DVLA to tell them a driver has died and that the ownership of the car needs to be changed. Include the person’s driving licence with your letter, if you have it. Your letter must include:
- your relationship to the person who died,
- the date they died,
- their name, address and date of birth,
Send the letter to: DVLA Swansea SA99 1AB. You don’t need to send a death certificate.
To change the ownership of the car on death, this is the official line.
If you are Selling the vehicle.
What you do depends on whether you have the vehicle log book (V5C).
If you have the vehicle log book (V5C).
Write a letter explaining your relationship to the person who died, the date they died and who should be paid any vehicle tax refund. (This would normally go into the estate for subsequent sharing with the beneficiaries.)
Send the letter to the DVLA Sensitive Casework Team with the right part of the V5C. The part you send depends on whether you’re selling the vehicle to a private individual or a motor trader. DVLA Sensitive Casework Team, Swansea, SA99 1ZZ.
Selling to a private individual.
- Fill in section 6 of the V5C.
- Give the green ‘new keeper’s details’ slip (V5C/2) to the buyer.
- Send the V5C with your letter to the DVLA Sensitive Casework Team.
Selling to a motor trader.
- Fill in section 9 of the V5C.
- Get the motor trader to sign and date section 9.
- Tear off section 9 and send it with your letter to the DVLA Sensitive Casework Team.
- Give the motor trader the rest of the V5C.
If you don’t have the vehicle log book (V5C).
When you sell the car tell the buyer they’ll need to fill in form V62 to apply for a V5C. There’s a £25 fee at the time of writing.
You need to write a letter to the DVLA Sensitive Casework Team to tell them you’ve sold the vehicle. Your letter needs to say:
- the date you sold the vehicle.
- your relationship to the person who died.
- the date they died.
- who should be paid any vehicle tax refund.
- the buyer’s name and address.
DVLA Sensitive Casework Team, Swansea, SA99 1ZZ.
In effect, this means that there may be difficulty establishing who should in fact be the legal owner, as only the “personal representative” – normally, the person appointed as executor in the Will or the person appointed under Letters of Administration. however, dealing with this issues could mean that you have appointed yourself accidentally as the administrator of the whole estate with the consequent duties a liabilities.