8 Steps to Handle Your Passed Loved One’s Car
Losing a loved one is undoubtedly challenging, and decisions about their assets, like their car, can add to the complexity. Funera Sydney understands the difficulties, and we've crafted an 8-step guide to shed light on what typically happens to a person's car when they pass away. Before delving into the guide, it's crucial to emphasise that we strongly discourage driving a deceased person's car before transferring ownership and updating insurance. This precautionary measure avoids potential liabilities for both the estate and the driver in case of an accident.
Upon a person's demise, the executor of the Will or an administrator assumes ownership of the deceased estate and oversees asset distribution. Determining vehicle ownership is the initial step. If a joint owner exists, transfer ownership through the relevant road authority. In the absence of a surviving joint owner, the executor or administrator decides on the vehicle's distribution based on the Will or residuary estate if no Will is present.
In cases where the Will lacks clarity on the fate of the deceased person's car, or if no Will exists, a decision must be made. Options include transferring the vehicle to a beneficiary, a family member, or selling it, with the cash proceeds distributed among residuary estate beneficiaries.
Whether transferring or selling, evaluate if maintenance is needed for a potentially higher sale price or valuation. Addressing necessary maintenance before sale or valuation is financially prudent.
While determining the vehicle's fate, ensure continuous payment of car insurance, registration, and toll accounts. Even if a surviving spouse or dependent is using the vehicle, maintaining insurance coverage is essential until ownership is officially transferred or the vehicle is sold.
For both tax purposes and the Grant of Probate application, valuations are essential. Obtain three independent valuations to determine the average price. If the decision is to sell, initiate the process promptly.
Based on the vehicle's registration status, either transfer it to a new owner or register it to a new owner if unregistered. Each state or territory has specific processes, which can be found on the relevant transport authority's website.
Notify the state or territory's roads department of the deceased person's status, and cancel any driver's licence, learner permit, or marine licence. Follow the process outlined by the relevant transport authority.
Once the estate is finalised, close any road toll accounts. This can typically be done at a transport service centre in your state. Ensure outstanding fees are settled, and return any tags for a security deposit refund.