Inherited a car? What you should do next.SmartWill
Inherited a car? What you should do next.
One of the things that surprises people when someone passes on is the sheer amount of practicalities that have to be dealt with.
Hold on a moment…
The executor will have to do a couple of things before you can take possession of a car.
The first thing to confirm is that the vehicle is actually owned by the estate.
The majority of new cars today are bought on finance and it depends on the product and how many payments have been made as to whether the car may actually belong to the finance company or the estate.
If it does belong to the estate and, assuming that there’s a Will then the executor will need to get a valuation. This will be needed for inclusion in the estate total when working out if any tax is due.
The situation is complicated if there is no Will but, if you have been explicitly given the vehicle (of course it doesn’t have to be a car) and the executor has released it to you then you’ll need to decide what to do.
Are you going to keep the car? Do you want to sell it? Give it away?
The first issue that you need to be aware of is that on death a person’s car insurance will automatically lapse, so while you are thinking about what to do you may need to make sure it is covered.
If you are going to keep the car then your choice is probably pretty clear, you either take out a new policy or transfer your current policy onto the car.
If you are not ready to do this then you may well need to move the vehicle.
Many people’s insurance (especially if they have comprehensive cover) will cover them driving another vehicle but there will be restrictions on this, for example, it may only cover you if the vehicle is owned by someone else.
The message is clear – check your policy!
If you are not covered then, assuming you have somewhere to keep the vehicle then you may need to get someone to move it for you, either a friend or a commercial transport company.
It’s also important to remember that you need to transfer ownership and tax the vehicle, and this can be done with DVLA online and you’ll also need to list this as SORN if you are keeping it off-road and not taxing it.
Not keeping it?
There are so many ways to dispose of a car today that we’d probably need pages and pages to cover all of them but here are the most common.
Not all methods are equal and they all have their good and bad points. It’s all about deciding what is best for you.
Quick car sale companies such as [maybe insert an external link here] will buy your car immediately and that’s great if you just want the issue settled but naturally, you’ll be giving them a pretty high discount.
Selling privately, either through an auction site, a specialist car advertiser or using advertising sites like Gumtree [maybe insert an external link here] will get you more money but you will need to spend time getting the car cleaned and of course showing it to prospective buyers.
For rare cars and classics, specialist auctions can be a very good way to sell as often they will raise more money from collectors who scour the world for unusual vehicles, but there will be an auction fee to pay.
Is it a classic?
Sometimes people will leave a classic car in their Will that they hope will stay in the family.
If this is the case for you then we’d suggest you use this as a prompt to either make or update your Will.
Smart Will allow lifetime changes to your Will which means that you can make sure that the classic vehicle you have spent all Sunday cleaning will be passed on to someone who will value it just like you.
If you do decide to leave a car as a gift in your Will, make sure the make, model and registration clear to executors.