Guidance for deceased estates

When a registration holder or registered operator passes away, it is important to let us know as soon as you can. This will help us keep our records up to date.

The passing of the holder means the registration ownership is transferred to the new owner. Accredited probate documents will direct who is the new owner.

The owner can change or remove an operator.

Change the registered operator

If the operator passes away, the registered holder must appoint a new operator or remove them and become the operator themselves. This must happen within 14 days of the operator passing away.

The operator must be an eligible person.

To notify the change of the registered operator, you must complete the following form:

This includes deceased registration holders where the individual was also the registered operator.

Ownership allocation of a deceased estate

Only the owner of the aircraft can transfer or cancel the registration.

It is important to find out who has ownership of an aircraft after the completion of the legal process in the case of a deceased person. The recognition process when allocating assets depend on whether a Will is in place or not at the time of death.

A grant of probate certifies the Will is the last and valid Will of the deceased person. The Will also confirms the authority of the executor named in the Will to administer the estate.

State or territory laws may also affect the administration of the assets of the deceased. The process may change to suit the requirements of state or territory rules.

When there is a Will in place:

  • the estate applies for a grant of probate in line with the administrative directions of the state or territory where the deceased lived
  • a grant of probate
  • the executors divide the assets of the deceased in accordance with the directions of the Will, at which time the ownership changes.

If there is no Will in place (known as dying intestate):

  • the next of kin needs to apply to the court for letters of administration. The next of kin needs to use the administrative directions of the state or territory in which the deceased lived
  • the court will assess the application and give direction to an administrator to manage the deceased estate and the disposition of assets
  • the administrators divide assets according to court directions.

Requirements to transfer or cancel registration after a death

Ownership of the assets of the deceased can be determined after the process of Probate (or letters of administration) is complete

At this stage, the new owner can apply for a transfer of ownership of the deceased person's aircraft.

All forms should be supported by the following documents:

  • a death certificate if issued. If you don't have one, please contact 131 757 (aircraft registration) for guidance
  • a copy of probate (or letters of administration)
  • a copy of the Will (if used).

Transfer of aircraft registration

The executor of the estate can sign the initial stage of the aircraft registration transfer. The executor should write 'Executor' on the form near their signature.

The deceased's Will may give directions to the executor to divide the assets according to a formula or to liquidate for division.

After the former owner gives consent to the transfer, the new owner applies for the registration ownership change and nominates the operator. The new owner is the nominated owner in the Will.

In the case of a liquidation, the new purchaser of the aircraft is the nominated owner. This means the new purchaser can transfer aircraft to a third-party owner in the one transfer.

Cancellation of aircraft registration

The estate of the deceased registration holder can also cancel the aircraft.

To cancel the registration, you must complete:

The executor of the estate can also sign this form. The executor should write 'Executor' on the form near their signature.

Note: if an irrevocable deregistration and export request authorisation (IDERA) is in place we cannot cancel the registration without required permission.

Last updated:
31 Mar 2023
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