How To Transfer A Deceased's Person's Vehicle Registration To A New Owner In British Columbia

Posted on: 2 January 2015

When a person passes away, their property is generally distributed to friends, family members, charities and other people important to the decedent. However, it is important to make sure this property is legally transferred to the new owners to prevent problems down the road. If you recently acquired a vehicle as part of an inheritance or need to transfer the vehicle registration to another party, here is what needs to be done to complete this task in British Columbia.

Transferring Ownership of the Vehicle

Whether or not there is a will, the vehicle can only be transferred into the new owner's name by the executor of the estate. However, the vehicle's co-owner can bypass this requirement if his or her name is also on the vehicle registration. You would simply submit the death certificate to your Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC) autoplan broker and have the deceased person's name removed from the registration.

The sole beneficiary of the estate can also transfer the vehicle to his or her name as long as the estate is valued under $25,000.You would only need to present the death certificate and will or notarized Estate Declaration $25,000 and Under Form (MV1476).

Otherwise, the first thing you need to do is fill out a Transfer/Tax Form, which you can obtain from the autoplan broker. You will need to fill it out with information about the seller (the deceased person) and the buyer, but the administrator of the estate would actually sign on behalf of the decedent.

If the person had a will and the estate is valued under $25,000, you would submit a copy of

  • the will or court order,
  • the death certificate,
  • the vehicle registration, and
  • valid identification

to the autoplan broker to have the vehicle registration transferred to the new owner.

For an estate that is valued less than $25,000 where the person died intestate (without a will), then you will need to submit the notarized original of the Estate Declaration $25,000 and Under Form (MV1476) as well.

If the person's estate is valued over $25,000, then you could submit the Grant of Probate in lieu of the will or court order. For intestate decedents with estates over $25,000, you can provide the autoplan broker with a Grant of Administration or a Letter of Undertaking from either an attorney or the Public Guardian Trustee administering the estate. The Letter of Undertaking is essentially a promise by the individual to submit the probate paperwork to ICBC once the case has concluded.

The person who the vehicle is being transferred to will also need to be present and must be prepared to provide valid identification and proof of insurance. If the vehicle was sold to the new owner, then the PST tax on the purchase price must be paid. If the vehicle was given as a gift, then the individual pays PST tax on its market value.

Transferring Vehicle Prior to Probate

It's generally best to wait until the estate has gone through probate before attempting to transfer the registration of a vehicle. If there are challenges to the will or it is found to be invalid, the person who obtained the vehicle may be required to return it to the estate and you'll have gone through all the trouble of transferring the registration for nothing.

However, you can still complete the transaction if you have the court's approval or you're fairly certain transferring the vehicle won't pose a problem in the future. You'll need to submit a Letter of Undertaking from your probate attorney—in addition to original or certified copies of the vehicle registration, death certificate and will—to the ICBC autoplan broker.

For more information about transferring a vehicle from a deceased's person's estate to a new owner, contact the motor vehicle department nearest you for assistance.