How to sell a deceased person’s car
Losing a loved one is never easy, and dealing with their assets can feel overwhelming. If you’ve inherited a car from a deceased family member or friend that you wish to either sell or transfer, it’s crucial to know the proper steps – whilst navigating the legal process of probate.
In this guide, we’ll walk you through the essentials, such as explaining the simplest way of notifying the DVLA of your intentions, providing an understanding of what is meant by the legal term ‘probate’, and assessing the easiest methods for selling or transferring ownership of an inherited vehicle.
- Considerations when dealing with an inherited car
- Notifying the DVLA of the car owner’s death
- Selling a car on probate
- Do I need a probate grant to sell a dead person’s car?
- Transferring ownership using the car’s V5C logbook
- Selling a deceased person’s car without a V5C logbook
- Transferring a deceased person’s car without a V5C logbook
- Selling a deceased person’s car to a private buyer
- Selling a deceased person’s car to a dealer
- Selling a deceased person’s car with Motorway
Considerations when dealing with an inherited car
Legal entitlement: To transfer or sell the vehicle, you’ll need a copy of the deceased’s Death Certificate and legal proof of your entitlement to handle the car on behalf of their estate. This proof could be part of their Last Will and Testament, a solicitor’s letter, or other legal document that demonstrates your authority.
Insurance coverage: If the car was insured in the name of the deceased person, and you wish to use the vehicle, contact the insurance company to determine if you can be covered. Even if you were previously a named driver on the deceased person’s policy, most insurance policies automatically terminate when the main policyholder passes away.
Relationship to the deceased: Your relationship with the deceased can impact what you’re legally entitled to do with the car. For example, a spouse will have a different legal status than a friend. If you’re unsure of your rights, it’s always wise to contact a legal professional – such as the solicitor dealing with the deceased’s estate, who can provide details relating to your specific case.
Notifying the DVLA of the car owner’s death
If you’ve been left a car or van by a deceased friend or relative, you’ll need to inform the DVLA of their passing. This will allow them to cancel the driving licence, remove the deceased as the registered owner of the vehicle, and cancel the car’s road tax.
To do this, you can notify the DVLA directly or use the government’s ‘Tell Us Once’ service, which also informs other relevant organisations – such as the Passport Office, HM Revenue and Customs, and the deceased’s local council.
Selling a car on probate
In England and Wales, ‘probate’ is the term used to describe the legal and financial procedures associated with managing the assets, finances, and possessions of a deceased individual.
Probate encompasses the process of verifying the Last Will and Testament of the deceased person – if one exists – and establishing the rightful authority of another person to oversee their estate.
Before selling or transferring a car or van inherited by a dead person, you’ll need to legally prove that you have the right to do so.
Do I need a probate grant to sell a dead person’s car?
Legally speaking, a car of a deceased person is described as a ‘personal chattel’. A probate grant constitutes a legally binding document that is required for an executor to be allowed to access the bank accounts of the deceased person, take ownership of their goods and chattels, or settle any outstanding debts.
In cases where the deceased individual left a will, a probate grant is required. In cases where no will exists (or can be found), a document known as a ‘Grant of Letters of Administration’ is required for the process to be implemented.
Both documents are used in a similar fashion, conferring legal authorisation upon a designated individual to manage the estate of the deceased person. If a will is in place, it will officially outline the distribution of the deceased person’s assets. If there is no will, a legal process will need to determine who should receive the deceased person’s goods and chattels – including any vehicles.
If you have established your legal right to sell or transfer a car or van inherited from a dead person, there are several options available to you.
Transferring ownership using the car’s V5C logbook
The car’s V5C logbook – commonly known as ‘the logbook’ – can be used to transfer ownership of the car. You’ll need to fill in section 2 of the V5C logbook (or section 6 if it is the old-style V5C logbook, issued before April 2019). Tear off the green ‘New Keeper’ slip – and retain this.
Write a letter to the DVLA, including details of your relationship to the deceased, the date of their passing, and the details for any road tax refund. Send this letter together with the V5C logbook – excluding the ‘New Keeper’ slip – to the DVLA’s Sensitive Casework Team.
Selling a deceased person’s car without a V5C logbook
If you intend to sell the inherited car or van and lack a V5C logbook, you’ll need to send a letter to the DVLA’s Sensitive Casework Team and must incorporate a V62 form, in addition to the subsequent details:
- The date of the car sale
- Your relationship with the deceased individual
- The date of their death
- The name of the recipient for any road tax reimbursement· The full name and address of the buyer
Transferring a deceased person’s car without a V5C logbook
If you’re in the process of transferring ownership of a deceased person’s car and don’t have – or can’t find – the V5C logbook, then you’ll need to complete the DVLA’s V62 form to get a replacement.
A fee of £25 is associated with this service, and you have the option to either request a V62 form from your local Post Office or to download one electronically.
You’ll need to send a letter to the DVLA’s Sensitive Casework Team and let them know:
- Your association with the deceased individual
- The date of their death
- The name of the recipient of any road tax reimbursement· The full name and address of the person you wish to transfer ownership to
Selling a deceased person’s car to a private buyer
If you want to sell the car to a private buyer, you’ll still need to inform the DVLA’s Sensitive Casework Team by letter, detailing your relationship to the deceased, the date of their death, and who should be the recipient of any road tax refund.
Once the DVLA has confirmed your ownership, fill out Section 2 of the V5C logbook and give the green ‘New Keeper’ slip to the buyer. Then send the rest of the V5C logbook to the DVLA.
Selling a deceased person’s car to a dealer
Selling a deceased person’s car to a dealer is relatively straightforward. You’ll need to ask the car dealer to fill out the section of the V5C logbook labelled: ‘Sell, transfer or part-exchange your vehicle to the motor trade.’ You’ll then need to send this to the DVLA’s Sensitive Casework Team. The car dealer will keep the remainder of the V5C logbook.
A car dealer or car-buying company’s choice to buy a deceased person’s car can depend on the vehicle’s value. If it’s valued below £10,000, dealers can make payments directly to you. However, if the vehicle exceeds £10,000 in value, the purchasing dealer might require probate authorisation or a letter of authorisation from the estate’s solicitor to proceed with the sale, which can be off-putting.
Some common documents and items that a dealer may request include:
- The Death Certificate of the deceased individual
- A letter or email from the solicitor overseeing the estate, granting permission for the car’s sale and specifying the authorised recipient of the payment
- Photo identification of the next of kin or the executor responsible for the estate
Selling a deceased person’s car with Motorway
At Motorway, we understand that dealing with the administrative aspects of selling a deceased person’s car can feel daunting. We’re committed to providing comprehensive support to anyone facing these circumstances.
When selling a vehicle on behalf of a deceased individual, it’s necessary to possess a copy of the Death Certificate. If the vehicle’s value is below £10,000, the verified dealers in our UK-wide network can make payments directly to you, as the executor. However, if the vehicle exceeds £10,000 in value, the purchasing dealer might require probate authorisation or a letter of authorisation from the estate’s solicitor to proceed with the sale.
Please reach out to us and let us know the status of the vehicle before we seek to add it to one of our online daily sales. We’re available to offer guidance and assistance throughout this process.
To ensure the process is as simple as possible for you, Motorway has a dedicated sign-up page for selling cars and vans on probate.
Is it time to sell your car?
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