Have you ever been the executor of an estate that contained multiple firearms?
As the executor of a will, there’s an incredible weight on your shoulders. You must execute the post-mortem wishes of your client while also working with those still processing a loved one’s death. In many cases, everything is simple. There’s a will where everything is laid out clearly, and everyone gains their inheritance. Simple.
But what if something complicates matters, such as a massive firearm collection? Well, at that point, things can get a little complex.
We’ve lost track of the times an executor has come to us, asking our advice on how to handle an estate that includes firearms. It’s always a pleasure to help them, but we think that preemptively answering some of their questions might help even more. If you need to execute a will that includes firearms, here’s what you need to know:
What if the Firearms Aren’t Registered?
To legally own a firearm in Canada, two things are needed.
One, the owner must have a valid gun licence, called a Firearm Possession and Acquisition Licence, or PAL. This requires them to go through a safety course, write an exam, and apply for one through the RCMP. Once a person has their firearm licence, they can own as many guns as they want.
The second part is a little tricker. To legally own a firearm, it needs to be registered. Generally, this won’t be a problem, as most firearms in collections are already registered. But if you find any guns in the collection that aren’t registered, you can’t just give them to the family. Instead, you need to contact the RCMP to resolve the situation.
Do I Need a PAL to Be Executor?
As the executor of the will, you already have one—but it’s temporary.
When your client passed, their PAL temporarily transferred over to you. This gun licence is valid only until you distribute the contents of the will. After this, the temporary PAL is void. Keep in mind that any recipients of the guns must have their own valid PAL to own the firearms legally.
If you’re not allowed to possess firearms, the temporary PAL will not transfer to you. It will be up to you to make other arrangements and find someone who can act in your stead when it comes to the guns contained in the will.
Where Can I Store the Firearms?
As the executor, part of your job is securing the firearm collection during the probate process. The firearms need to be secured. For example, what if your client was storing them under the bed?
Since you can’t keep them in the trunk of your car—that’s illegal—you need somewhere safe to store them. And that’s precisely what we offer with GTA Guns safe storage.
Many of our clients use safe storage to keep their collection safe long-term, but it’s also a fantastic solution for short-term storage. By putting the firearms in our care, you can rest assured that they will be secured 24/7 at optimal temperature and humidity levels. When you or the family need to access the firearms, they only need to give us a call to arrange a pickup time. On top of that, we have fully-insured our entire facility. If the worst were ever to happen, everything stored within would be fully covered.
The Family Wants to Liquidate the Firearms—What Do I Do?
That’s easy: contact us!
We’ve worked with dozens of executors in the past to liquidate their clients’ firearm collections. We’ll pick up the firearms and even help you deal with the paperwork. If the firearms are already stored in our safe storage facility, even better!
Once the firearms are in our possession, we’ll assess their value, so you know exactly how much money they represent. We then put them through our proprietary GUNCHECK™ and CYCLECHECK™ services to determine their exact condition, take high-resolution photos for the listing page, and then put the firearms up on the auction site. All you and the family need to do is watch passionate buyers drive up the firearms’ price in exciting bidding wars!
Once the auction is over, it’s our responsibility to transfer the registration and ship the firearm to its new owner. You simply wait for the proceeds of the sale to be deposited. From there, it’s again up to you to execute your client’s wishes to the family.
As an executor, your job can be difficult, so why not make it easier by contacting GTA Guns auctions? With our auctions, firearm appraisals, and other services, we can minimize any issues and make sure that the deceased’s final wishes are honoured to the letter.