Transferring registration from a deceased registered operator

The loss of a relative or friend can be a difficult time. Managing the affairs of a deceased estate is often complex and time consuming but we aim to make the finalisation of vehicle registration matters as easy as possible.

We trust that you appreciate that there are certain requirements that must be met to ensure that all transactions made on behalf of the deceased or their estate are legitimate.

When we are advised that a person has passed away, and that person had vehicles, personalised or customised plates registered to them, we will send a letter to their last known address. This letter will advise the estate of any vehicles or number plates that were registered to the person, and provide some initial information about finalising these vehicle registration matters. This information is also available as an information sheet (PDF, 181KB).

The procedure for transferring the registration of a vehicle that is registered to a person who has passed away varies, depending on factors such as whether:

The administrator/s or executor/s of an estate can also choose to cancel a vehicle's registration. If a refund is due, it will automatically be sent by cheque to the estate of the deceased. If the refund needs to go to another person (for example, beneficiary), then the vehicle’s registration must first be transferred.

Note: If none of these situations match your circumstances, please call 13 23 80 or visit a transport and motoring customer service centre for more information.

30 day survival period

Generally, the beneficiary of a deceased estate must survive the deceased by 30 days in order to benefit under the will. During this period, an application to transfer a vehicle's registration should not be made unless:

  • the Will specifically states that the beneficiary is not required to survive the deceased by 30 days
  • registration is being transferred into the 'estate of' the deceased person.

Failure to transfer registration

A vehicle must be registered in the name of a person or legal entity. This ensures that we can identify the person or entity responsible for the operation of a vehicle, the safety of that vehicle on a road and the payment of any associated fees.

When we are notified that a person has passed away, we place a restriction against the vehicle/s and personalised or customised plates that are in the name of the deceased. The restriction will not allow the registration of these vehicle/s to be renewed until the registration is transferred to a legal entity.

Vehicles registered in 2 names

If a vehicle is registered in 2 names, its registration may be transferred to the surviving registered operator listed on the registration.

There no fees for making this transfer.

To apply to transfer the registration, you (as the surviving registered operator) must bring the original or certified copy of the death certificate, funeral notice or coroner's report to a transport and motoring customer service centre.

If there is a Will

The following documents are required to transfer a vehicle where the deceased person has a Will:

If there is no Will

The estate of a person who dies without leaving a will, can be administered by the Public Trustee of Queensland, a person who has been granted Letters of Administration by the Supreme Court, or their next of kin.

If the estate is being administered by the Public Trustee of Queensland, they will arrange for the required registration documents to be completed and sent to the Department of Transport and Main Roads.

If the estate is being administered by a person granted Letters of Administration or next of kin, the follow items are required to transfer the registration:

If a decision on the vehicle has not been made

Temporary transfer to estate of deceased

If a decision to transfer or cancel the vehicle has not yet been made, it can be temporarily transferred into the estate of the deceased. An administrator/executor or the next of kin must be nominated as the second registered operator, and will be responsible for the vehicle and registration until the vehicle is transferred out of the estate or cancelled.

There are no fees incurred for this transfer.

To do this, the administrator, executor or next of kin must bring the following items to a transport and motoring customer service centre: