Car and joint ownership

Dear Forum

I would be grateful for any responses on the following:

  • A deceased person (A) was the sole registered owner of a car
  • In A’s lifetime, both A and his spouse (B) considered that they owned the car ‘jointly’. Both A and B were insured to drive the car. The car was purchased using funds from A and B’s joint bank account.

In relation to the administration of A’s estate:

  • Is the car a ‘joint’ asset, and therefore it passes by survivorship rather than forming part of A’s residuary estate? If it is a joint asset, presumably only A’s ‘share’ needs to be included on the inheritance tax return?

Thank you for your time,

Best wishes


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The registered owner of a motor vehicle is not necessarily the “owner” of the vehicle but, typically, will be; accordingly, registration is not, of itself, proof of ownership.

If A and B purchased the car out of a joint bank account that is prima facie evidence of joint ownership (despite DVLA document in one name only) as beneficial joint tenants, in particular if this was their explicit or implied intention in the absence of any contrary evidence.

On A’a death, their beneficial interest passes by survivorship to B and for IHT 50% of the value of the vehicle at date of death falls within A’s estate.

Malcolm Finney

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Dear Malcolm

Thank you for your response.

I really appreciate your time.

Thank you again,


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