Changing vehicle ownership when someone dies

What you need to do to transfer vehicle ownership in Western Australia as part of an estate.

We are testing the Alpha stage of the 'End of life' guide. If you find this guide useful or would like to report an error, please leave us a comment below.

To transfer vehicle ownership, you need to get a declaration from the executor or administrator of the estate.

Once the Statutory Declaration Deceased Estates' Form MR172 (PDF file) has been filled in, take it to a Driver and Vehicle Services Centre or regional agent or regional agent with the current licence papers.

A transfer fee must be paid within 14 days. The amount of vehicle licence duty depends on whether you received the vehicle as part of the will, if you’re next of kin or if there was no will at all.

Apply to change the ownership of a vehicle when the owner has deceased

Show more
You may need to make an application to the Supreme Court for a grant of Probate or Letters of Administration before a vehicle licence can be transferred from the name of a deceased licence holder.

If you are unsure as to whether to obtain a grant or if you require further assistance regarding the deceased's estate you should consider contacting the following:

  • Law Society - for legal assistance or help to find a lawyer.

Driver and Vehicle Services and the Probate Office of the Supreme Court cannot provide you with legal advice regarding these matters.

Where Probate and Vehicle Services of Administration have been granted or obtained from the Supreme Court, a true copy must be provided before a vehicle licence will be transferred to the executor or administrator of the deceased's estate or to another person at the direction of the executor or administrator.

Restrictions on change of ownership of a vehicle when the owner has deceased

Show more
Unpaid infringement notices or court fines may cause a licence suspension or prevent the grant, renewal or transfer of a vehicle licence.

You are encouraged to check the vehicle licence status before considering the sale or purchase of a vehicle.

Until a suspension has been removed, the vehicle is considered unlicensed and continued use of the vehicle will be in contravention of the Road Traffic (Vehicles) Act 2012.

Further details or enquiries in relation to these matters can be obtained by contacting the Fines Enforcement Registry on 1300 650 235.

A person can also place a restriction on their vehicle's licence to prevent another person from transferring it. A transfer cannot occur unless the restriction is removed by the presentation of another Court Order to a Driver and Vehicle Services centre or regional Agent.

Public passenger vehicle licences (i.e. taxis, small charter vehicles, hire and drive, or omnibuses licensed under the Transport Coordination Act 1966) can only be transferred if the operator provides a written authority from On-demand Transport at the Department of Transport. If the vehicle is no longer to be used as a passenger vehicle, this authority is not required. However, any special identification plates (i.e. taxi plates) must be returned and a general series plate issued before the transfer can proceed.

Change the ownership of the vehicle to a beneficiary of the will

Show more
If transferring a vehicle licence from a deceased estate to a beneficiary under the terms of a will, the Executor or Administrator of the Estate completes a 'Statutory Declaration Deceased Estates' (Form MR172)

The beneficiary must supply the current licence papers (if available) and the completed Statutory Declaration Deceased Estates Form MR172 (PDF file) at any Driver and Vehicle Services centre or regional agency.

The beneficiary will pay a transfer fee and a nominal rate of vehicle licence duty.

Change the ownership of the vehicle to someone who is not a beneficiary of the will

Show more
If transferring a vehicle licence from a deceased estate to a non-beneficiary under the terms of a will, the Executor or Administrator of the Estate completes a 'Statutory Declaration Deceased Estates' (Form MR172)

The non -beneficiary must supply the current licence papers (if available) and the completed Statutory Declaration Deceased Estates Form MR172 (PDF file) at any Driver and Vehicle Services centre or regional agency.

The non-beneficiary will pay a transfer fee and the full rate of vehicle licence duty.

Change the ownership of the vehicle to the next of kin where there was no will

Show more
The transfer fee and a nominal rate of vehicle licence duty are payable.

Under the provisions of the Administration Act 1903, a de facto partner is now recognised as having equal status as that of a husband or wife if the de facto partner and the licence holder lived as de facto partners for a period of at least 2 years immediately before the death of the licence holder.

The beneficiary (next of kin) must supply the current licence documents (if available) and a completed Statutory Declaration Deceased Estates Form MR172 (PDF file).

Change the ownership of the vehicle to someone other than the next of kin where there was no will

Show more
The person who acquires the vehicle will be required to pay the full vehicle licence duty and transfer fees.

The person who acquires the vehicle must present current licence documents (if available) and a completed Statutory Declaration Deceased Estates Form MR172 (PDF file).

Change the ownership of the vehicle when the vehicle has optional or personalised plates

Show more
Information on how to retain the plates for issue to another vehicle or change the ownership of the vehicle with the plates attached.

If you want to transfer the vehicle that displays Personalised Series plates, but want to keep the plates, you must remove the plates from the vehicle before the sale and get other plates for the vehicle. The Personalised Series plates must be retained at a Driver and Vehicle Services Centre or regional Agent (subject to a storage fee).

The plates can be transferred to a member of the immediate family of the deceased by completing the Application for plate remake/transfer Form E45 (PDF file) after which the plates can be placed on a vehicle in their name. A plate fee is charged for this change.

If the plates are no longer required and you do not wish to issue them to an immediate family member, the right to display these plates must be relinquished by written request.

Once the right to display has been relinquished the plates must be returned to a Driver and Vehicle Services Centre or regional Agent and a set of ordinary state plates will be issued to the vehicle. Please note a fee for a new set of plates applies.

If you transfer the vehicle with the personalised plates attached, the plates are transferred to the new owner during the vehicle transfer process.

If the vehicle is fitted optional plates (other than personalised plates) and the plates are being left on the vehicle, the beneficiary/non-beneficiary and executor/administrator must each complete and submit a Transfer of rights to display special plates Form VL176 (PDF file).

The Beneficiary or non- beneficiary will then have to pay the applicable plate transfer fee. A Beneficiary of an Estate pays a reduced plate transfer fee. You must present a copy of the Will and a completed Transfer of rights to display special plates Form VL176 (PDF file) at a Driver and Vehicle Services Centre or regional Agent.

Note to new owner of right to display:

  • If you do not want to own the right to display the plates, return the optional plates to a Driver and Vehicle Services Centre to receive a set of ordinary state plates. Please note a fee for a new set of plates applies.

Note to Executor/Administrator:

  • If you do not intend to transfer the right to display the optional plates, return the optional plates to a Driver and Vehicle Services Centre for retention and receive a set of ordinary state plates for the vehicle you are selling. Please note a fee for a new set of plates applies.
Page reviewed 28 July 2020