Vehicle owner has passed away

Dealing with the loss of a family member or friend, can be an emotional time.  We understand that the Estate process can be complicated and confusing and we want to make it as easy as possible for you to work with us as you go through the process of dealing with their vehicles.

Further government advice can be found at Te Hokinga ā Wairua End of Life Service(external link)

There are a few things we may need you to do in order to settle vehicle ‘ownership’ or outstanding motor vehicle licence fees.

In some circumstances it may be appropriate to transfer the vehicle into the care of the Executor(s)/Administrator(s) until the Will has been finalised, this will ensure that all correspondence relating to the vehicle is being dealt with.

What’s happening to the vehicle?

Keeping the vehicle

If you’re going to keep the vehicle you’ll need to change the registered person’s details. You'll need to complete a Change of registered person – buyer form (MR13B).

You can do this online(external link) or at one of our agents. You’ll need your ID, but there's no charge for this. 

Note: if you’re the joint owner or the joint owner has passed away you’ll also need to complete the change of registered person. You'll need to supply evidence of death, a copy of the death certificate or the notice from a newspaper. This transaction will need to be done at an Agent or give us a call and we can advise the process.

Selling the vehicle

If the vehicle is being sold then a Change of Registered Person – Seller (MR13A form) will need to be done.

You can do this online(external link) or call us and we can do this over the phone.

Please be aware: Whenever there’s a change in registered person we send the seller a letter. This is to notify the seller the transaction is processed or alert them to a possible mistake or even fraud.

This process is automated and is currently unable to recognise if the transaction is due to a death. Unfortunately this means that a letter will be sent in the deceased person’s name. This is beneficial to the executor/administrator of the will as it signifies the vehicle is out of the deceased name and future motor vehicle fees no-longer apply but we recognise this can be distressing for family members.

Cancelling the vehicle

If the vehicle is no-longer road worthy and you want to cancel the vehicle's registration then you’ll need to complete an Application to cancel vehicle registration form (MR15).

Cancelling a vehicle

You’ll have to do this at an agent as the vehicles number plates need to be handed in. Please note: this transaction cannot be done at NZ Post.

There could be some outstanding licence (rego) fees to pay; you can check this by calling us.

Note: In some circumstances the number plates may not be able to be returned for example if the vehicle has been involved in an accident or fire, in cases like these the application to cancel the vehicle will need to be accompanied by a police or fire brigade report.

Exempting the vehicle from vehicle licensing

If you’re unsure what’s happening with the vehicle and it’s not going to be used on the road then it may be appropriate to put the licence (rego) on hold. You should only do this if the vehicle won’t be used for 3 months or longer.

You can do this online(external link), apply at an agent, or call us and we can do this over the phone.

Fees, debt, outstanding payments

Owning a motor vehicle incurs many different fees and charges, you should check to make sure none of these are accruing or outstanding. If not paid they could end up with a debt collector or in a fine.

Vehicle licence fees

In some cases there will be motor vehicle licence fees (rego) to pay, the executor/administrator should deal with this as soon as possible to stop further fees accruing.

Road user charges (RUC)

If the vehicle requires RUC you should check to make sure it’s current, you can do this by checking the label or giving us a call.


If the vehicle had used a toll road it may be attached to a toll road account or there could be outstanding toll charges, you can check this by contacting Toll Roads.

Driver licence

You’ll also want to cancel the driver licence; find out more on what to do when a licence holder has passed away.

Insurance, finance

Don’t forget to also contact the insurance company and if applicable the finance company to stop payments or update details.

Wills, probate and executors

The Citizens Advice Bureau(external link) has some excellent information or talk to your lawyer.