Dealing with vehicles after a death

When a loved one dies, you may find yourself worrying about what to do with their personal belongings, which quite often includes a car or other vehicles. We hope that this guide answers some of your questions about dealing with a vehicle after someone has passed away.

Telling DVLA about the death

If you have already registered the death, you should check if you used the Tell Us Once service. As part of this free service, you would have informed DVLA about the death. If you still need to use the Tell Us Once service, you can visit the website to do this here: Tell Us Once Service

What happens with MOT, tax and insurance?

If the vehicle has a valid MOT, this will remain valid as usual until it expires.

The responsibility for taxing it lies with the owner, or the executors if someone has passed away.

If vehicle tax has been paid in full, you will receive a refund of any overpaid tax after transferring ownership. This refund will be added to the estate funds.

You should continue insurance to protect from third party damage, fire or theft. You can cancel this after you have completed a sale or transfer of ownership. The current insurance documents will help with arranging new insurance. You can find all the details needed to put a new policy in place in the current policy schedule.

Arranging a valuation

You can find out an idea of the value by checking the insurance documents. Alternatively, an online search of similar vehicles for sale will give you a good idea of what it is worth. If you feel that it has a significant value, you should arrange a valuation with a local dealership. Specialist valuers may be a suitable option if vehicles are of special interest, for example, they may be classic or limited edition models.

When arranging a valuation, you should explain that it is for probate purposes. You should include this value in the probate and inheritance tax papers.

Keeping the vehicles

If a person in the will is keeping the vehicle, you should advise them to notify DVLA of the change of ownership. You should let the new owner know that the forms they need to send to the DVLA will depend on whether they have the logbook (V5C) or not. You can visit the government website here for guidance on what to do: Telling DVLA after someone dies

If the new owner wishes to declare the vehicle off road if they do not intend to drive it, they can declare the vehicle SORN. The link above explains which form will need to be sent to the DVLA to arrange this.

Selling the vehicles

What you need to do will depend on whether or not you have the logbook (V5C). You can find information on the documents you will need on the government website here: Telling DVLA after someone dies

You should add any money raised from the sale to the estate funds. The estate can reimburse you for any costs which you have paid in arranging the sale.

Scrapping the vehicles

If you feel that the vehicle has very little value, you may consider scrapping it. You can take it to an authorised treatment facility, where you will receive money for the salvage. You should then add this money to the estate funds. There are also charities who deal with scrap and salvage, and will donate any salvage fee to charity.

Other Useful Guides

Dealing with personal belongings after a death