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.
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.
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
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.
Disposal of firearms belonging to deceased estates
- 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.
If there are firearms found at a deceased persons estate and they either:
- Have not been left to anyone.
- The person who they have been left for, does not want the firearms.
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
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
- Can demonstrate a genuine need for it.
- Obtain a permit to acquire.
- Have the transaction witnessed by a licensed firearms dealer.
You must also 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.
You have two options if you wish to keep the firearm and do not hold a current firearms licence. You can:
- Apply for a firearm licence or;
- apply for an Heirloom Licence if you would like to keep the firearm for inheritance purposes only.
Note: an Heirloom Licence will only allow you to possess a single firearm or a matched pair of firearms.
It is also a condition of this licence that any firearm attached to the licence is made permanently inoperable and stored correctly.
The Power of Attorney or Executor of the Will should provide an extract from the Will or a letter from the Executor to whom the firearm has been left for, as supporting evidence when undertaking the transfer at a Licensed Firearm Dealer.
If you have been left a firearm from a deceased person and do not want it, the Executor or Administrator of the estate will have to dispose of it on your behalf.
Reviewed 29 June 2021