Overview

You and the Beneficiaries will need to decide how the vehicles will be dealt with depending on the ownership and the Will. You may need to:
  • determine ownership of the vehicles;
  • check if the Will mentions how the vehicles are to be distributed;
  • agree how the vehicles will be distributed;
  • decide if the vehicles are to be sold and the cash proceeds distributed;
  • determine if any maintenance is needed to get a higher sale price or valuation; and
  • update the simplyEstate Assets & Liabilities Inventory.

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18.1 Types of Vehicle Ownership

The following types of car ownership exist:

18.1.1 Sole Ownership

If the deceased person was the sole owner of the car and other vehicles, then those vehicles will generally fall within the estate and either its sale proceeds or the vehicles will be distributed as outlined in the Will or based on the State/Territory legislation.

18.1.2 Joint Ownership

If the deceased person owned the car and other vehicles with another person jointly, then those vehicles will in most instances pass to the surviving joint owner. You should share this information with the surviving owner, so the vehicle can be transferred into their sole ownership as per instructions by State/Territory at the end of this Step below.

Further instructions about the vehicles and distribution may be noted in the Will.

Note: Where both joint owners have passed, those vehicles will generally fall within the estate.

18.1.3 Leasing

If the deceased person owned the car and other vehicles under a leasing agreement, then you will need to review the lease contract and talk to the leasing company. In most instances the agreement would still continue and agreed payments may need to be maintained unless you can negotiate a deferral of payments until the deceased estate is fully administered.

18.2 The Will (if Available)

The Will may contain specific details and instructions about the distribution of the car and other vehicles. It needs to be noted that the requests in the Will should be upheld to the extent permitted by law.

18.3 Value the Car and Other Vehicles

As with all assets and liabilities of the estate, you will need to get a good understanding of the car and other vehicle’s value for the purposes of tax, Grant of Probate application and final distribution. A general rule is to either get a valuation by an independent specialist for a fee, or three valuations by independent dealerships to give you an average valuation.

Note: the value of all assets and liabilities are as at the date of death.

18.4 Sell the Car and Other Vehicles

It is not uncommon that the Executor or Administrator either require to or wish to sell the car and other vehicles and then distribute the cash proceeds.
It needs to be noted that a vehicle license transfer may only occur once a Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration are obtained from the Supreme Court (see Step 27 – Apply for Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration).

18.5 Return Driver’s License and Number Plates

You should return the driver’s license of the deceased and number plates of vehicles registered solely under the deceased person, which won’t be used. You may be able to claim a refund of the remaining part of the fees paid in some States/Territories.

If a refund is applicable, it will need to be paid into the deceased person’s estate and registered on the simplyEstate Assets & Liabilities Inventory. More on how to create a deceased person’s estate bank account can be found in Step 19 – Deal with a Deceased Person’s Bank Accounts & Finances.

18.6 Driving a Deceased Person’s Car Before Transfer

It is not recommended to drive a deceased person’s car that was not yet transferred and insured in the intended owner’s name.
Even if the vehicle is insured, both the estate and the driver may become liable for damages resulting from an accident.

18.7 Processes for Vehicle Transfer, Driver’s License and Number Plates Return

simplyEstate has compiled the most common information and process by State/Territory to help you as follows:

New South Wales (NSW) – Sydney change State

Roads and Maritime Services

Phone: 13 22 13
Address: Find a location near you here

Notification of Death
The Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages informs Roads and Maritime Services of all deaths in the state periodically. However, if this has not occurred or you want to register it sooner, you can complete the following: Return Driver’s License
You can return the deceased person’s driver’s license at a Service Centre with proof of the death such as: Cancel Vehicle Registration and Return Number Plates
Complete Number plates and/or cancellation of registration Form and bring the following:
  • proof of your identity;
  • the Certificate of Registration for the vehicle, if possible; and
  • the number plates.

Return in Person at a location near you here

Transfer of Vehicle Registration

For any vehicle registration being transferred from the deceased person, the Executor or Administrator should complete and provide a Transfer of Registration Form.

Transfer With a Will – Beneficiary or Executor
The new owner will need to provide one of the following:
  • a copy of the Will stating the relevant section;
  • a copy of the Grant of Probate stating the relevant section; or
  • signed, written advice from a solicitor.
Transfer With a Will – Surviving joint vehicle owner
The Executor and surviving joint owner should provide a letter signed by both parties outlining the agreement between the Beneficiary/Executor and the surviving joint owner and one of the following:
  • a copy of the Will stating the relevant section;
  • a copy of the Grant of Probate stating the relevant section; or
  • signed, written advice from a solicitor.
Transfer Without a Will – Administrator
The new owner will need to provide:
  • a copy of the Letters of Administration issued by the Supreme Court; or
  • a Statutory Declaration stating they are appointed as Administrator of the deceased estate.
Transfer Without a Will – Surviving joint vehicle owner and Next of Kin
The surviving joint owner or Next of Kin wanting to transfer the vehicle into their name should complete a Statutory Declaration stating:
  • their relationship to the deceased;
  • that no Administrator was appointed for the estate;
  • that no Will is in place; and
  • why they are entitled to transfer the vehicle registration into their name and there is no other Next of Kin who would be given preference.
Website
For more information about transfer of vehicles and vessels, please see:
  • Deceased estates here
  • Advise Roads and Maritime Services that a customer is deceased here
  • Transfer a vessel registration due to the death of the registered operator here
Victoria (VIC) – Melbourne change State

VicRoads

Phone: 13 11 71
Address: Find a location near you here

Your Proof of Identity
If you are dealing with VicRoads representing the deceased estate as the Executor or Administrator you will always need to provide:
  • proof of identification such as a driver’s license; and
one of the following:
  • a copy of the Will stating the relevant section;
  • a copy of the Grant of Probate stating the relevant section;
  • a copy of the Letters of Administration, stating the relevant section; or
  • a Statutory Declaration stating that no Will and no Executor are in place and that they are entitled to represent the deceased estate.
Notification of Death
The Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages informs VicRoads of all deaths in the state periodically.
However, it is recommended to notify VicRoads as soon as possible by submitting a certified copy of the Death Certificate:
  • by post: VicRoads, GPO Box 1644, Melbourne VIC 3001; or
  • in person: at a VicRoads Customer Service Centre near you here
Return Driver’s License and Claim Refund
You can return the deceased person’s driver’s license by post or in person by providing: Cancel Vehicle Registration and Return Number Plates
You can cancel a registration and return number plates in person by providing: Transfer of Vehicle Registration

Refer to the table and forms contained in the VicRoads Deceased Estate Pack.

Queensland (QLD) – Brisbane change State

Department of Transport and Main Roads

Phone: 13 23 80
Address: Find a location near you here
Post: Department of Transport and Main Roads, Customer Services Branch Central Operations and Support (Driver Licence Refunds), PO Box 525, Fortitude Valley QLD 4006

Return Driver’s License
You will need to complete a Form F4778 – Return/Surrender Declaration and can return the deceased person’s driver’s license:
  • in person: at a Transport and Motoring Service Centre near you here; or
  • by post: Department of Transport and Main Roads, Customer Services Branch Central Operations and Support (Driver Licence Refunds), PO Box 525, Fortitude Valley QLD 4006
Refunds
To obtain a refund of the unexpired portion of the driver’s licence, you will need to apply in writing to the Department of Transport and Main Roads by post with the following:
  • name and address of the Executor or Administrator;
  • a copy of the receipt obtained when returning the driver’s licence of the deceased person;
and a certified copy of one of the following:
  • Death Certificate;
  • Funeral notice;
  • Coroner’s report;
  • Grant of Probate; or
  • Advice from the Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages.

To obtain a refund for the unexpired portion of the registration and compulsory third-party insurance, follow the steps outlined below under Cancel vehicle registration & return number plates.

Surviving Joint Vehicle Owner
A surviving joint owner can transfer the vehicle into their name at no cost by visiting a Transport and Motoring Customer Service Centre and provide one of the following certified copies:
  • Death Certificate;
  • funeral notice; or
  • Coroner’s report.
Cancel Vehicle Registration and Return Number Plates

In QLD the vehicle registration should be transferred to the deceased estate or a Beneficiary by the Executor, Administrator or Next of Kin before cancelling the registration on behalf of the deceased person and to receive a refund to the estate.

After 30 days from the date of death you can complete a Form F3520 – Vehicle Registration Transfer Application, signed by every Executor, Administrator or Next of Kin and provide the following:
  • Accepted proof of identity of the Executor, Administrator of Next of Kin who will be registered as the second operator of the vehicle;
and one of the following certified copies:
  • Death Certificate;
  • Funeral notice; or
  • Coroner’s report;
and with a Will one of the following:
or without a Will one of the following:
Return the documents and number plates:
  • in person: at a location near you here; or
  • by post: Department of Transport and Main Roads,Vehicle Cancellations, PO Box 5096, Red Hill, Rockhampton QLD 4701
Website

For more information about transfer of vehicles and deceased estate, please see this guide.


Complete Step

Actions and Decisions to Complete Step Yourself

If you have decided to tackle this Step yourself after reading and understanding the above, you may want to:

  1. Determine the ownership of all vehicles
    (see Step 18.1 above);
  2. Negotiate deferral or pay all repayments for leased vehicles
    (see Step 18.1.3 above);
  3. Check the Will (if available) for any specific instructions about how the vehicles are to be distributed
    (see Step 18.2 above);
  4. Value the vehicles
    (see Step 18.3 above);
  5. Decide if the owned vehicles will be kept or sold
    (see Step 18.4 above;
  6. Return driver’s license and number plates (if the vehicle is kept)
    (see Step 18.5 and Step 18.7 above; and
  7. Transfer the vehicle to the surviving joint owner (if applicable)
    (see Step 18.7 above).
  8. Update the simplyEstate Assets & Liabilities Inventory to reflect all vehicles and their value.

Click for supporting:

Information

Forms

Legislation

New South Wales (NSW) – Sydney change State
Victoria (VIC) – Melbourne change State
Queensland (QLD) – Brisbane change State

Cost & Effort

Reading: 25 mins
Completing: 1-3 hrs
Total: 1:20-3:20 hrs
Cost: $0-$500

Effort and cost are general estimates only and are based on the assumption that you complete this step without experienced support.

Instructions

To find out how this Process Guide works, access the instructions here.

Glossary

To find out what the capitalised words mean, access the glossary here.

New South Wales (NSW) – Sydney change State
Victoria (VIC) – Melbourne change State
Queensland (QLD) – Brisbane change State

Forms

Return Driver’s License in NSW

Form C – Advice of Death

Cancel Vehicle Registration & Return Number Plates in NSW

Number plates and/or cancellation of registration Form

Transfer Vehicle Registration in NSW

Transfer of Registration Form

Return Driver’s License & Claim Refund in VIC

Cancellation and refund request Form

Cancel Vehicle Registration & Return Number Plates in VIC

Authority to act as an agent Form

Refer to Step 18.7 above for more detail about these forms.
Other forms not listed here may be required based on your specific circumstances.

Checklists & Tools

Use Australia’s smartest Assets & Liabilities Inventory to automatically calculate the estate value for Grant of Probate.

New South Wales (NSW) – Sydney change State
Victoria (VIC) – Melbourne change State
Queensland (QLD) – Brisbane change State

Legislation & Rules

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N/A

N/A

Other legislation and rules not listed here may apply to your specific circumstances.


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