Deceased estates

Roads and Maritime Services has strict requirements for transferring a registration due to the death of the registered operator.

Advising Roads and Maritime of a person’s death

Roads and Maritime is notified of deaths in NSW by the NSW Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages, so that we can record customers as deceased in our records.

However you can notify us of a person's death by providing one of the required documents.

Transferring registration after a death

If the registered operator of a vehicle is deceased, the registration needs to be either transferred to a new registered operator, or cancelled.

Roads and Maritime has strict requirements for transfers to protect the deceased person’s estate from fraudulent or malicious dealings, and to protect all registered operators from unauthorised transfers on the basis that they’re deceased when they’re not.

What you need to provide

Evidence that the operator is deceased

If the person’s death has not already been recorded in Roads and Maritime’s system, you’ll need to provide one of the following documents:

  • The death certificate (original or copy)
  • Newspaper death notice
  • A letter from a solicitor or the NSW Trustee and Guardian (previously known as the Public Trustee), advising that the person is deceased
  • A completed Advice of Death form, accompanied by any acceptable proof of identity document of the deceased person
  • In the case of a missing person presumed deceased, a Presumption of Death Order issued by the Supreme Court (original or copy). An Advice of Death form cannot be used in this situation.

Documentation to support the transfer of registration

In all cases, you’ll need to provide a completed Transfer of Registration.

Depending on the situation, you’ll also need to provide additional documentation. This section provides information on specific situations. If you require more information, please call us on 13 22 13.

If there is a will

Transferring to a beneficiary or executor

You must provide one of the following, which must name the new operator as the beneficiary or executor of the will:

  • A copy of the relevant section of the will or probate document
  • Signed, written advice from a solicitor.

If the vehicle is transferred to an executor, it may be transferred at a later date to a beneficiary using this process.

If there is more than one beneficiary listed in the will, the Application for Transfer form must nominate one person only as the registered operator.

Transferring to the surviving joint registered operator (if previously registered in two names)

If there is a will, the registration can be transferred into the name of the surviving joint operator, providing there is evidence of an agreement between the beneficiary or executor and the surviving joint operator as to which of these two will be the new registered operator. You must provide one of the following:

  • A copy of the relevant section of the will or probate document and a letter, signed by both parties, outlining the agreement between the beneficiary/executor and the surviving joint registered operator
  • Signed, written advice from a solicitor including advice on the agreement.

If there is no will

Transferring into the name of the Administrator

If there is no will, registration may be transferred into the name of the Administrator of the estate. You must provide one of the following:

  • A copy of the Letters of Administration, issued by the Supreme Court, if available
  • If the Letters of Administration are not available, the Administrator must complete a Statutory Declaration stating that they are the appointed Administrator of the estate.

Transferring into the name of the surviving joint registered operator (if previously registered in two names)

Transfer of registration into the name of the surviving joint operator may be completed if there is no will or Letters of Administration. The surviving joint operator must complete a Statutory Declaration stating:

  • Their relationship with the deceased (eg husband or wife of deceased)
  • That to their knowledge there is no Administrator for the estate
  • That to their knowledge there is no will
  • The reason they are entitled to transfer the registration into their name.

Transferring into the name of the next of kin

Transfer of registration into the name of the next of kin may be completed if there is no will or Letters of Administration. The next of kin must complete a Statutory Declaration stating:

  • The type of next of kin relationship (eg husband, brother, daughter etc) with the deceased
  • That to their knowledge there is no Administrator for the estate
  • That to their knowledge there is no will
  • The reason they’re entitled to transfer the registration into their name (for example if the Statutory Declaration states that you’re the brother of the deceased, it must also state that there is no other closer next of kin who would be given preference or is entitled to the registration).

Note: A beneficiary is not a recognised next of kin relationship. If you’re a beneficiary named in a will, see the section if there is a will.

Stamp duty and transfer fee exemptions

Stamp duty and transfer fees do not apply if the vehicle is transferred into the name of one of the following:

  • A beneficiary or executor nominated in a will
  • The Administrator of the estate
  • The surviving joint registered operator
  • The next of kin
  • A different proven beneficiary in a subsequent transfer. If the registration is transferred into the name of a person listed above, and then subsequently transferred to a different proven beneficiary, stamp duty and transfer fees are not payable on both transfers.

Disposing of the vehicle without transferring registration

Where a vehicle is disposed of (for example sold) by the estate upon the death of the registered operator, without being transferred to a person named in a will or other acceptable document, the new operator must meet the normal requirements to transfer the registration.

Transferring registration from a corporation

If the registered operator of the vehicle is a corporation, and the corporation chooses to transfer the vehicle to a beneficiary of a deceased director, the beneficiary must meet the normal proof of identity, proof of registration entitlement and fee requirements.

The beneficiary may also provide written advice from a solicitor, or letter from the NSW Trustee and Guardian (previously the Public Trustee) showing that the vehicle is bequeathed to them, as proof of registration entitlement.

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