Deceased estates and transferring vehicle registration

This step-by-step guide will help you transfer or cancel vehicle registration when someone close to you dies.

Transferring or cancelling registration

When the registered operator of a vehicle passes away, the registration needs to be either:

  • transferred to a new registered operator, or
  • cancelled.

You need to do this in person at a service centre.

Our strict process to do this protects:

  • the deceased person’s estate from fraudulent or malicious dealings
  • all registered operators from unauthorised transfers on the basis that they’re deceased when they’re not.

Advising us of a death

NSW Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages usually notifies us of a person's death, but this can take some time.

If the person’s death is not already recorded in our system, you must provide one of the following:

  • death certificate (original or copy)
  • newspaper death notice
  • a letter from a solicitor or the NSW Trustee and Guardian – advising that the person is deceased
  • completed Advice of Death form – accompanied by any proof of identity document of the deceased person
  • Presumption of Death Order issued by the Supreme Court (original or copy) – if the person is missing presumed deceased. An Advice of Death form cannot be used in this situation.

 

Wills and documents

To transfer or cancel the registration, you need to provide:

If there is a will

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

  • 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 Transfer of Registration form must nominate one person only as the registered operator. The new operator must also provide a letter signed by all other beneficiaries or executors outlining their agreement to transfer the registration to them.

If the vehicle is registered in two names and one person dies, registration can be transferred to the surviving person if there is a will.

This can only happen if there is evidence of an agreement between the beneficiary or executor and the surviving joint operator about who will be the new registered operator.

You need to provide one of the following:

  • 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.

Where the estate sells or gives a vehicle to a person who is not named in a will (or other acceptable document), the new operator must provide proof of purchase to transfer the registration.

If there is no will

If there is no will, registration may be transferred into the name of the administrator of the estate.

Provide one of the following:

  • Copy of the Letters of Administration, issued by the Supreme Court, if available.
  • Statutory Declaration by the Administrator – stating that they are the appointed Administrator of the estate (Only required if the Letters of Administration are not available.)

If the vehicle is registered in two names and one dies, registration can be transferred to the surviving person. This can be done 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 spouse of deceased)
  • to their knowledge there is no Administrator for the estate
  • to their knowledge there is no will
  • the reason they are entitled to transfer the registration into their name.

The next of kin must complete a Statutory Declaration stating:

  • the type of next of kin relationship (eg spouse, sibling, child etc) with the deceased
  • to their knowledge there is no Administrator for the estate
  • 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 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).

A beneficiary is not a recognised next of kin relationship. If you’re a beneficiary named in a will, see the guidance on 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:

  • 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.

Transferring registration from a corporation

If the registered operator of the vehicle is a corporation, and the director of the corporation has died, the corporation may choose to transfer the vehicle to a beneficiary of a deceased director. The beneficiary must meet the normal proof of identity, proof of registration entitlement requirements and pay the transfer fee.

The beneficiary may also provide:

  • written advice from a solicitor, or
  • letter from the NSW Trustee and Guardian showing the vehicle is bequeathed to them, as proof of registration entitlement.
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