Executors and heirs


Estate law may vary from province to province. Generally, an executor has the same rights the deceased had to have firearms while the estate is being settled.

Even if you do not have a licence to have firearms, you can have a firearm left in an estate for a reasonable amount of time while the estate is being settled. If a court has prohibited you from possessing firearms, you cannot take possession of firearms left in an estate. But you are still able to act as executor and you can transfer the firearms to someone who can lawfully have them.

To act as the executor, and to get information on the estate firearms, you must provide the following documents to the Canadian Firearms Program (CFP):

Within a reasonable length of time, you must

  • ensure the firearms are transferred and registered to a properly licensed individual or business, or
  • dispose of the firearms in a safe and lawful manner

Until then, you must ensure that the firearms are safely stored.

You must also determine if a valid firearms licence and registration certificate exist. If either document does not exist at the time of death, the CFP will work with you to resolve this situation.


To inherit a firearm you must

  • be 18 years of age
  • hold a valid Possession and Acquisition Licence (PAL) with the correct privileges (i.e., non-restricted, restricted, prohibited)

Unwanted firearms

If there is no eligible heir, or if the heir does not wish to inherit a firearm, the estate may

  • use the phone transfer process to sell or give the firearm to any person, museum, or business with a licence to have that particular type of firearm
  • export it to a country that allows it; call Global Affairs Canada at 1-800-267-8376 for information
  • call the CFP to get an approved gun smith to deactivate it; this means it no longer meets the definition of a firearm, and is exempt from the requirements of the Firearms Act
  • turn the firearm in to a police officer or firearms officer for disposal; call first to arrange for disposal
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