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How can I register my late husband’s French car in my name?

Changing a French car registration after a partner’s death is cheaper than in other circumstances, but there is a specific process to follow

Changing ownership of a car in France: We explain what process you must follow and how to find which supporting documents you will need Pic: HJBC / Shutterstock

Reader Question: Our car was registered in my husband’s name. Since he died, everything belongs to me but I can’t find a way to change the name on the carte grise without paying a hefty change-of-ownership fee.

You are right that you will need to register the carte grise in your name to continue driving the car. 

The re-registration procedure after inheriting a car in the case of the death of a spouse should, however, cost only €13.76 – see the simulator (tinyurl.com/CGcost-simulator) at the official service-public.fr website. The relevant option to choose is Ajout/suppression du nom d’époux(se) ou partenaire (adding/removing the name of a spouse or partner). 

You pay less than if you are re-registering after inheriting a car where you were not the spouse of the deceased. 

Supporting documents depend on what your marriage regime is considered to be. 

Most French marriages fall under the communauté réduite aux acquêts regime (common ownership of assets acquired during the marriage). In this case, all you need are the existing carte grise, proof of address, ID, a cerfa n°13750 form, and a livret de famille (family record book) indicating the death. On the cerfa form, cross changement d’état civil ou d’état matrimonial and give your details as the new owner. 

If you do not have a livret de famille, you need marriage and death certificates. However, a couple married in the UK, for example, will often be treated as having a séparation de biens (separation of assets) regime on moving to France, unless they have visited a notaire to change to a common ownership one (see: tinyurl.com/ marriage-regime-info). In this case, anything owned exclusively by the deceased partner will be included in the estate, to which any children would usually be entitled to a percentage under French law. 

Widows falling under this require a waiver from other heirs or a certificat d’attribution from a notaire. You will also need to prove your status as inheritor – for example, through a document from a notaire. 

You can apply on the ANTS website at tinyurl.com/ants-cartegrise clicking Nouvelle demande > l’immatriculation > faire une autre demande > signaler un changement sur ma situation personnelle, and actualisation du certificat d’immatriculation suite à un décès ou héritage

If you run into issues, you can request help at a point d’accueil numérique at your local prefecture. See also page 21. It is also possible to pay a professional to apply on your behalf: tinyurl.com/carte-pros.

Related links 

Can I buy a car in France to use when I visit my second home

UK residents CAN legally register a car at their French second home

How to avoid falling for new car registration scam in France

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