This page contains information about firearms and deceased estates.
Transferring firearms from deceased estates
The only person who can authorise the transfer of firearms belonging to deceased licence holders is the Executor or Administrator of the deceased estate.
Executors and Administrator
The Executor or Administrator of an estate is the person who has been given the responsibility for managing and administering the deceased person's remaining financial obligations and wishes.
In relation to firearms this could include ensuring firearms are transferred correctly to the person they are left to, or selling the firearms through a licensed firearms dealer.
Note: for privacy reasons, the Executor or Administrator of the deceased estate is the only person with who the Licensing and Regulation Division can discuss the particulars of the licence holder or their firearms.
What does the Executor/Administrator need to do when managing a deceased estate with firearms?
The Executor/Administrator need to:
- notify the Licensing and Regulation Division of the death of the licence holder as soon as practicable
- ensure the continued safe storage of firearms belonging to the estate of the deceased licence holder
- dispose of the firearms belonging to the deceased licence holder within six months of the person's date of death.
Notifying the Chief Commissioner
How does the Executor/Administrator notify the Chief Commissioner about the transfer of firearms from a deceased licence holder?
The Executor/Administrator will need to:
- Email the Licensing and Regulation Division outlining and providing the following:
- A certified copy of the death certificate
- the name and contact details of the Executor or Administrator of the estate
- A copy of the Will confirming the Executor of the Estate
- the firearms licence number of the deceased (if known)
- details of each firearm in the estate (including the make, model, calibre and serial number.)
- address details where each firearm in the estate is to be ordinarily stored.
Storage of firearms belonging to deceased estates
Following the death of a firearm licence holder who owns firearms, the Executor or Administrator of a deceased estate is responsible for safekeeping and storage of firearms belonging to the estate.
Firearms belonging to deceased estates must be stored in accordance with the law.
Storage options include:
- leaving the firearms in the place where the deceased licence holder stored them provided that no unlicensed person can access them
- storing the firearms yourself provided that you have access to appropriate storage facilities
- arranging for another licence holder to store the firearms provided they have access to appropriate storage facilities and are appropriately licensed in the same category of firearms
- arranging storage with a licensed firearms dealer
Note: if you move firearms to a new storage location, the Licensing and Regulation Division must be notified of the change in storage address.
For more information about changing address details, see Change of details.
Disposal of firearms belonging to deceased estates
When referring to the disposal of firearms, it can mean the following:
- transferring ownership of the deceased persons firearm to an existing licence holder
- selling the firearms to a licensed firearms dealer
- surrendering the firearms for destruction
For more information about the disposal of firearms, see Disposal of firearms and ammunition.
If there are firearms found at a deceased persons estate and they either:
- have not been left to anyone or;
- the person who they have been left for, does not want the firearms
The firearms must be disposed of within six months of the licence holder’s death. It is encouraged in this situation to surrender the firearms for destruction.
You can see how to surrender the firearms for destruction here.
It is the responsibility of the estate Executor or Administrator to ensure firearms are disposed of correctly.
The Executor or Administrator must:
- notify the Licensing and Regulation Division of any transfer within seven days of the firearms being disposed via email.
- ensure they are transferring the firearm via a licensed firearm dealer.
Note: Executors or Administrators should not allow inherited firearms to be given to another person without officially transferring them via the Permit to Acquire process.
Licence requirements for Executors and Administrators
As an Executor or Administrator, do I need to obtain a licence to manage the firearm responsibilities?
An Executor or Administrator of a deceased estate is exempt from needing a licence to possess or carry the firearm for the purpose of disposing (ie. transferring, selling, surrendering) of the firearm provided:
they store it correctly and;
they dispose of the firearms within six months of the licence holder's death.
Note: this exemption is only valid for six months after the licence holder's death and does not allow an Executor or Administrator to use the deceased person's firearms.
Inheriting a firearm
You may acquire a firearm that someone left to you in a Will provided you:
hold the appropriate licence for that firearm. For example, if you only have a Category A licence but inherited a Category B firearm you will need to become a Category A/B licence holder to possess, use or carry that firearm. If you do not you may be committing an offence for being an unlicensed person in possession of a firearm.
- can demonstrate a genuine need for it
- obtain a Permit to Acquire
- have the transaction witnessed by a licensed firearms dealer
Reviewed 25 February 2020