While the Firearms Act sets out how firearms may be transferred and who may possess them, provincial estate laws determine the role of the executor. In Quebec, the Executor of an Estate is referred to as the Liquidator of the Succession.
While estate law may vary from province to province, an executor generally has the same rights the deceased had to possess firearms, while the estate is being settled. Even if an individual is not personally licensed to possess firearms, they can possess a firearm left in an estate for a reasonable amount of time while the estate is being settled.
An individual who is under a court-ordered prohibition from possessing firearms cannot take possession of firearms left in an estate. They can, however, act as executor and facilitate the transfer of the firearm(s) to someone who may lawfully acquire them.
If the deceased owner did not have
they were in illegal possession of the firearm. This puts the executor at risk of penalties for possessing the firearm unless they act quickly to comply with the law.
To act as the executor and obtain information on the estate firearms, the executor is required to provide the following documentation to the RCMP Canadian Firearms Program (CFP):
All firearms must be unloaded and transported or stored in a safe and secure manner to deter loss, theft and accidents, as set out in the Storage, Display, Transportation and Handling of Firearms by Individuals Regulations.
There are two options for shipping any class of registered firearm:
More information can be obtained by contacting a Chief Firearms Officer (CFO).
When a firearm is transferred to a new owner, a specific process must be followed:
Note: Both the executor and the new owner must participate in the transfer process. The firearms licence number of the deceased owner and the new eligible owner must be provided. The registration certificate number and firearm information (make, model, action, type, caliber, shots, barrel length and serial number) for each firearm must also be provided.
Verification of firearm information such as make, model, action, type, caliber, shots, barrel length and serial number may be required to transfer or register an inherited firearm. Contact the CFP for assistance in verifying a firearm.
If there is no eligible heir, or if the heir does not want an inherited firearm, the estate may choose one of the following options:
If the deceased owner had a firearms licence, it should be returned, along with a copy of their death certificate, to the following address:
Royal Canadian Mounted Police
Canadian Firearms Program
PO Box 1200
Miramichi, New Brunswick E1N 5Z3
To legally acquire a firearm by any means, including through inheritance, the recipient is required to hold a Possession and Acquisition Licence (PAL). Form RCMP 5592 is required to apply for a PAL or to upgrade licence privileges for different firearm classes. A PAL is valid only for the class or classes of firearms listed on it.
For more information, contact the CFP.
This fact sheet is intended to provide general information only. For legal references, please refer to the Criminal Code and the Firearms Act and their corresponding regulations. Provincial, territorial and municipal laws, regulations and policies may also apply.