When an Estate Consists of Firearms

By Vanessa DeDominicis

Hailing from the UK originally, dealing with firearms in an Estate is simply something I did not learn at law school or ever come across in practice over there. In Canada it is far more common. Hunting is a big part of life for many people over here, and thus firearms are frequently gifted through Wills and are often part of a deceased’s personal effects and household goods when she or he passes away. How does an Executor deal with these?

Unless an Executor is otherwise barred from possessing a firearm for some reason, an Executor can hold the firearms of the deceased for a reasonable period of time. During that period of time (undefined), the Executor must store them appropriately, depending on what type of firearm they are dealing with (non-restricted/restricted/prohibited).

Assuming the beneficiary of the firearm is not a minor, the Executor must ensure that the beneficiary has the appropriate firearms licence for the firearm they will be receiving. The Executor should also satisfy themselves that the beneficiary is not banned from possessing a firearm for some reason. It is recommended for an Executor to call the office of the Chief Firearms Officer (“CFO”) of British Columbia to ascertain this information.

Firearms Act excerpt:

Authorization to transfer non-restricted firearms

23 A person may transfer a non-restricted firearm if, at the time of the transfer,

(a) the transferee holds a licence authorizing the transferee to acquire and possess that kind of firearm; and

(b) the transferor has no reason to believe that the transferee is not authorized to acquire and possess that kind of firearm.

Voluntary request to Registrar

23.1 (1) A transferor referred to in section 23 may request that the Registrar inform the transferor as to whether the transferee, at the time of the transfer, holds and is still eligible to hold the licence referred to in paragraph 23(a), and if such a request is made, the Registrar or his or her delegate, or any other person that the federal Minister may designate, shall so inform the transferor.

If the firearm is restricted or prohibited then the Executor must notify the CFO who will provide the necessary transfer paperwork to transfer the firearm to the beneficiary, provided they are not prohibited from holding same, are not a minor and hold the appropriate firearms licence.


This is provided as information ONLY; it should NOT be construed as legal advice. You should consult with a lawyer to provide you with specific advice for your own situation. For more information on estate planning/incapacity planning and to discuss your specific circumstances, please contact Vanessa DeDominicis on 250-869-1140 or dedominicis@pushormitchell.com Vanessa practices in the area of Wills and Estates at Pushor Mitchell LLP in Kelowna.