Legal Disputes over Deceased Vehicles: Who Inherits and Deals with Them?

Legal Disputes over Deceased Vehicles: Who Inherits and Deals with Them?

...By Jack Sylva for TDPel Media.

Who is Responsible for Deceased Vehicles: Understanding the Legalities

When a person passes away, the question of who receives or deals with their vehicles often leads to complex legal disputes among families.


Lerato Monyane, the Media Liaison Officer of the Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Police Department (EMPD), sheds light on this matter in her recent Tip of the Week.

Determining Ownership for Married and Unmarried Individuals

According to Officer Monyane, in the case of a married person, the surviving spouse is entitled to receive the vehicle.

However, if the deceased individual is unmarried, it is up to the family to decide who will inherit the vehicle, whether it be the person’s children, parents, or siblings.

Obtaining the Letter of Executor or Letter of Authority

To transfer the vehicle into the spouse’s name, they must first obtain a letter of executor or letter of authority.

This document is crucial for the registration process and establishes legal ownership of the vehicle.

Applying the Same Principle to Children

Officer Monyane clarifies that the same principle applies to children.


Once a letter of authority is issued, the children have the authority to determine under whose name the vehicle should be registered.

Essential Requirements for Acquiring Deceased Members’ Property

In order to take over a deceased individual’s vehicle, certain requirements must be met.

These include providing the letter of authority or letter of executor, the death certificate, the marriage certificate (for the surviving spouse), the deceased person’s ID, proof of residence of the intended vehicle registrant, and the ID of that person.

Additionally, the completion of Form NCO (Notice of Change of Ownership) and the RLV (Registration and Licensing of a Vehicle) form is necessary.

Roadworthiness Test during the Transition Period

Officer Monyane explains that when it comes to the spouse receiving the vehicle, it is not required to undergo a Certification of Roadworthiness.

However, if a child is inheriting the vehicle, the Certificate of Roadworthiness (CRW) is mandatory before the vehicle can be licensed.

Maintaining Current License Discs for All Vehicles

In situations where the deceased owned multiple vehicles and one of them has an expired license or outstanding fees, the other vehicles will not receive new license discs until all licenses are up to date.

Officer Monyane advises ensuring that all vehicle licenses are current and valid.


By understanding the legal procedures and requirements involved in transferring ownership of deceased individuals’ vehicles, families can avoid unnecessary disputes and complications during this challenging time.

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