Guide to selling a car of a deceased friend or relative

Selling the car of a deceased relative or friend can be an emotionally draining task, with the various unknown legal and administrative procedures adding to your source of stress.  This guide will help you to understand the practicalities a little better, ensuring that you know exactly where you stand.

As an Executor, you need to understand some of the steps involved when a vehicle forms part of an estate, although the family may wish to appoint a solicitor to do this job for you.

Applying for Grant of Probate or Confirmation

  • If you have been named as an Executor in somebody else’s will, you won’t be able to administer any aspect of their estate until you are appointed Executor by Grant of Probate or Confirmation; to do so you will need to apply to the Probate Register, providing a valid Death Certificate.

Insurance, tax and MOT

  • The requirement of transporting the car means you may need to drive the vehicle at some stage, which will require insurance, a valid tax disc and MOT.
  • If you have Comprehensive insurance on your current vehicle, you should be able to drive other vehicles that don’t belong to you on a third party basis, although it is worth checking with your insurer.
  • Arranging short term car insurance shouldn’t be too expensive, so it’s always better to be safe than sorry.

Financial status of vehicle

  • It is important that you find out if there is outstanding finance on the vehicle before proceeding finding a new buyer; this will need to be paid off prior to the estate profiting from the revenue of the sale.
  • If you are unsure of the current financial status of the vehicle, you can check, for a small fee, via websites like HPI.

Registration certificate

  • If you can’t find the registration certificate, you can easily apply for a new one by writing to the DVLA; make sure you enclose a copy of the Grant of Probate and Death Certificate to demonstrate that you are the designated Executor.

Selling the car

You can choose to sell the car in a variety of ways, take your time to choose the option best for you:

  • Private sale – you can put an advert in the paper and find a local buyer; this will often give you a good price but can sometimes be time consuming and be prepared to haggle.
  • Dealership – a dealer may be willing to buy your car if it is in good condition and hasn’t done huge amounts of miles, but he/she will push your price down in order to make their profit.
  • Scrap and recycling – in the event that the car is fully-working, damaged or unrepairable, ASM Auto Recycling can take the car off your hands and give you a good price for it.

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