Sell a car on probate

    We can help you sell a car on probate. 84% of Motorway customers get more money*.

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    How to sell a deceased person’s car

    Selling a deceased person’s car can be hard, but we’re here to help you through this challenging time.

    There are several legal steps you will need to go through before you can settle a deceased person’s financial affairs, which may include selling a car on probate.

    Before you start, you will need a death certificate, and you will need to retain the document to complete the probate car sale.

    If the deceased person has left behind a Last Will and Testament, they will have named an executor – and that individual will be responsible for handling all matters relating to their estate.

    As soon as the named executor has original copies of the deceased’s death certificate and Last Will and Testament – then they can apply for probate. If the deceased has died without leaving a Last Will and Testament, the application process is essentially the same, but instead, you’ll have to apply for ‘Letters of Administration’ rather than a ‘Grant of Probate’.

    Once the chosen executor of the estate has the death certificate, the Last Will and Testament and Grant of Probate (or death certificate and Letters of Administration, if there was no Last Will and Testament), they can then officially notify the banks and the utility and insurance companies of the deceased person about their death.

    Preparing to sell a car on probate

    When someone close to you passes away, it can be a very difficult time and there may be a lengthy period of mourning before you feel able to settle the deceased individual’s financial affairs. However, when you are ready, it is worthwhile getting an insight into the legal implications.

    Commonly, one of the assets you will need to consider is the car owned by the deceased person. You’ll need to wait until probate has been granted before you are legally entitled to transfer the car’s ownership in order to sell it.

    Ready to sell on probate?

    Selling a car on probate with Motorway is quick and simple to do on our app or website.

    Create a vehicle profile and more than 5,000 verified dealers from across the UK will compete to give you their best price to buy your car.

    Approve your highest offer, and the winning dealer will collect your car for free and make a fast payment.

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    quick and easy way to sell a car on probate

    What is probate?

    When someone dies, their affairs need to be officially wound up and processed by the state. This means in effect, that any outstanding debts they may have need to be paid off and that their estate (if they have any) needs to be distributed to those individuals that are entitled to inherit.

    This process is called ‘probate’ – and it is undertaken by those people named as executors in the deceased’s Last Will and Testament (if they have one). If there is no Last Will and Testament the executor role will be determined by inheritance laws instead. In this instance, the executor role is instead referred to as a ‘personal representative.’

    As part of the probate process, an executor or personal representative will need to calculate whether any Inheritance Tax is due – and, if so, how much. They will also be responsible for reporting this to HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) and settling the bill.

    The executor or personal representative also need to value the deceased’s estate – which means everything they owned before they died. Including their car, if they had one.

    selling a car before probate is granted

    Can I sell a car before probate is granted?

    Yes, you can – but only if you are the deceased’s named executor or official personal representative.

    Legally speaking, there are two types of property covered by probate – fixtures and chattels. ‘Fixtures’ will be parts of the deceased’s estate that are immobile – such as fixed kitchen fittings, radiators, built-in cupboards and floor coverings. Whereas ‘chattels’ refer to any property types that are movable between locations, such as white goods, furniture, and cars.

    As a ‘chattel’, executors or personal representatives do not have to wait until a Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration have been issued in order to transfer the car to another owner – or to sell it.

    If you have been made executor or personal representative for a deceased person’s estate and wish to sell their car, you will need to produce the death certificate and legal proof of your entitlement to sell the car on behalf of their estate. This will typically be a copy of the deceased’s Last Will and Testament naming you as executor or a solicitor’s letter showing your entitlement to deal with the proceeds of the estate.

    However, it can get complicated. If the deceased has named more than one executor in their Last Will and Testament, all named executors – with all the required personal proofs of identification – need to be present when arranging the car’s sale.

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    How to value a car for probate

    Valuing a car for probate involves assessing the vehicle’s market value at the date of the owner’s passing. A diversity of factors play into estimating the price of used cars in the UK, including make, model, mileage, condition, special features or modifications, and your location, as well as overarching market trends. Motorway’s Car Value Tracker tool provides a real-time, instant valuation for up to six vehicles at once, based on live and historical used car sales data pulled from across the UK.

    Remember, 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. If you are selling a deceased person’s car on Motorway, simply let us know when you are listing the vehicle. You’ll also need to upload a copy of the owner’s death certificate. We’re always available to support executors or personal representatives throughout this process.

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    Sell my car frequently asked questions

    Commonly asked questions about selling a car on probate

    What do I do when the deceased’s car is owned outright?

    If a deceased individual’s car is owned outright, executors or personal representatives can simply transfer ownership by contacting the DVLA. Once ownership has been transferred, the executors or personal representatives then have the choice to continue to run it or to sell it on.

    The new ownership details will need to be entered into section six of the car’s V5C logbook. It is no longer possible to transfer vehicle tax, so executors or personal representatives will need to apply for a refund on any outstanding tax – and then re-tax the car under their own name.  

    The new owner of the car will also need to check that its insurance is still valid – and they will also need new Vehicle Excise Duty (VED).

    If the executors or personal representatives are unsure or undecided about what to do with the deceased person’s car, it can be registered as off the road (SORN). This way, they can keep it off the road – in a garage, for example – and they do not have to pay tax on the car whilst they come to a decision about how to proceed.

    What if there is outstanding finance on the deceased’s car?

    If there is outstanding finance on the deceased person’s car and the executors or personal representatives want to retain it, it is usually possible to take over the payments by getting in touch with the finance company. 

    If the executors or personal representatives have no wish to retain the car and want to get rid of it, the process is made easier as the car will still technically belong to the finance company. If this is the case, a representative of the finance company will come and collect the car and it will typically be sold at auction to cover the outstanding amount still owed on it. 

    If the price the car is sold at is lower than the amount still owed, the shortfall will need to be covered by the executors or personal representatives – or by the deceased’s estate.

    Can I scrap a deceased person's car for money?

    If the deceased person’s car is of little commercial or sentimental value, then scrapping it might be the best option.  

    Most scrappage firms will collect the car for free and give you the car’s ‘scrap value’ – this will be based on the car’s make, model, age, and condition. 

    If the deceased’s executors or personal representatives decide to go down this route, they must remember to inform the DVLA that they have taken it to an Authorised Treatment Facility (ATF) – or they can be fined up to £1,000.

    They will also need to ensure that they give the ATF the car’s logbook (V5C), whilst retaining the yellow section – the notification of sale or transfer of ownership.

    How do I sell a deceased person’s car with Motorway?

    When a loved one dies, it can be stressful if you’re named as executor or personal representative, simply because there are several legal hoops to jump through. If you do need to sell a deceased person’s car, Motorway can help make the process easier – whether the deceased person’s car was owned outright or on finance.  

    If you are selling a deceased person’s car, simply let Motorway know this when you are listing the car. They always help support executors or personal representatives as much as they possibly can.

    If you do need to sell a deceased person’s car via Motorway, you will need to upload a copy of their death certificate. 

    If the car is worth less than £10,000, Motorway’s network of verified dealers can pay the deceased’s next of kin directly. If the car is likely to be more valuable than £10,000, the buying dealer may ask to wait until probate is granted to buy from the executor or request a letter of authority from the estate’s solicitor confirming the sale is permissible. 

    You can ask Motorway’s Customer Support Team for any help or advice during this process. 

    Why choose to sell a car on probate with Motorway?

    As well as supporting executors or personal representatives through what can be a difficult process, Motorway can help you find a buyer for the car in as little as 24 hours. 

    After you have been directed through making a profile for the car – which usually takes a few minutes – they will then add the car to a daily sale at which car dealers compete to give their best prices. You will then be given the highest offer for the car.  

    If you choose to accept the highest offer, the winning dealer will then collect the car for free – and pay you via secure bank transfer.

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