You may transfer a motor vehicle out of the deceased’s name at an Insurance Corporation of British Columbia autoplan broker. You can search for an autoplan broker near you (if you live in B.C.) here.
If you and the deceased owned the motor vehicle together as joint tenants, you should bring the current vehicle registration, and either an original death certificate or a certified copy with you to the autoplan broker.
If you are the executor of the deceased’s will, and the value of the deceased’s estate is $25,000 or less, you may transfer the motor vehicle without obtaining probate of the deceased’s last will. You will need to bring to the autoplan broker original or certified copies of the will and the death certificate, as well as the current registration. You will also be required to complete a statutory declaration before a lawyer or notary public stating that the estate is not worth more than $25,000. The autoplan broker should have a form of the statutory declaration available for you to take to a notary public or lawyer.
If the deceased died without a will, you may also be able to transfer the motor vehicle without a grant of letters of administration if you are the beneficiary of the deceased’s estate, and the total value of the estate is $25,000 or less.
In determining whether the estate is worth $25,000 or less, you only need to include assets that pass through the deceased’s estate, and not those assets that pass outside of the deceased’s estate. For example, some couples own their house as joint tenants, keep all of their bank accounts and investments in joint accounts with right-of-survivorship, and name each other as the beneficiaries of their life insurance policies and Registered Retirement Savings Plans. If one spouse dies with just a car worth $25,000 or less in his name, his spouse may be able to transfer the car as executor of his will without obtaining a grant of probate from the court.
If the estate is worth more than $25,000, you will need to obtain a grant of probate or letters of administration from the Supreme Court of British Columbia to transfer the vehicle. You may bring the current registration and the letters probate and will (or letters of administration if there is no will) to the autoplan agent to transfer the motor vehicle.
What if there is a will, the estate is worth more than $25,000, and you wish to transfer the motor vehicle before you obtain probate of the will? If you have a lawyer representing you in the probate application, your lawyer may write a letter of undertaking, promising to deliver a copy of the letters probate to the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia when the court grants the probate. You may bring the letter of undertaking, together with the current registration, a certified copy of the will, and an original or certified copy of the death certificate to the autoplan agent to transfer the motor vehicle in advance of obtaining the probate.
In addition to the documents I have referred to above, you will need to complete a Transfer/Tax Form to complete the transfer. Your autoplan broker should have this form available for you. Unless, the vehicle is being transferred to the deceased's spouse, you must also bring in the plates.
You may also consult the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia's "Checklist for Estate Transfers."