Dealing with vehicles after someone dies

Image of car

Dealing with vehicles after a death is often not the first task that people consider. Someone will need to resolve paperwork around the driving licence vehicle ownership, insurance and breakdown cover as well as dealing with the physical vehicles that belonged to the deceased.

It is important to remember that failing to deal with vehicles and relevant admin tasks after a death can have serious consequences including the potential for prosecution. 

This post considers the steps you need to take and some useful links that can help you with this process.

What to do with driving licences

Driving licences must be returned to the DVLA along with a covering letter to notify them of the death. They will cancel the deceased’s driving licence.

You will need to notify the DVLA of whether you plan to keep or sell the vehicle(s). 

Dealing with the vehicles

For dealing with vehicle(s), you will need to consider the following :

  • Car ownership documents (V5 log book)
  • Is there any outstanding finance on the vehicle?
  • MOT / Service History – where is the paperwork located?
  • Where the car keys (including spare keys) are kept

Car insurance and breakdown cover

You will need to notify the current car insurance and breakdown cover providers of the death. You will need to discuss with them whether the insurance needs to be transferred in to another name or whether the cover needs to be cancelled. You can at this point discuss any automatic renewals to ensure that any future payments can be made from the correct account. 

Make sure you keep the relevant cover in place and check with the relevant legislation around insuring vehicles. 

Vehicle Tax

You cannot transfer vehicle tax from another person. You must tax the vehicle in your name even if you’re taking over ownership as a family member or looking after it for a short time.

The DVLA provides guidance as to dealing with vehicle tax after a death here. 

Organising your vehicle information

Organise your important information and documents by creating your Sunset Plan

Upload, organise, store and share your vehicle documentation in one central location. Help others know what to do with your vehicles in the future by planning ahead. 

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