With Norfolk being a rural county, the number of firearm and shotgun certificates issued is larger than in many other areas in the UK. We have had a few clients recently who own shotguns and the first question we asked them is “What happens to your shotguns when you die?”
If you own a licenced firearm, you may not have considered what will happen to it when you die. Although your guns will form part of your Estate and can, in theory, be left to whoever you choose; due to the regulation of firearms there are a number of steps that need to be followed in order to make sure that all legal requirements are met.
What should my Executors do with my guns on my death?
Your Executors will need to speak to the Police Firearms Licensing department who issued the deceased with their licence in order for them to arrange the correct distribution of the firearms. They will need to advise them of the death and, assuming they don’t already have a licence themselves, your Executor will need to apply for a Section 7 Certificate under the 1968 Firearms Act, which is a form of temporary permit. This will allow them to hold the guns temporarily, whilst the Estate administration is dealt with and until they are ready to distribute the assets.
Once the Estate is ready to be distributed to the beneficiaries, the Firearms Licencing Department must be contacted again and the correct forms completed in order to transfer the guns to their new owners.
It is never a good idea to keep firearms in an unoccupied property, so it would be sensible to either move the guns over to a friend or family member who has a licence or to keep them with a registered firearms dealer (who may charge a fee for this) whilst your Executor is waiting for their licence.
There is some good news through, if you leave your guns to someone who already has the relevant licence, the firearms can be transferred directly to them, without the Executor needing to apply for a Permit.
What should you do with your guns when making your Will?
If you own a licenced firearm, we would recommend that you leave a sealed envelope alongside your Will for your Executors to open on your death. Inside, should be details of your guns as well as guidance on which Firearms Department to contact and how to apply for the Section 7 Permit.
This will help to outline to your Executors what happens to your shotguns when you die.
For those based in Norfolk, the Firearms Licencing Department is based at Norfolk Constabulary in Wymondham and you can email them here – firstname.lastname@example.org
If you would like to know more about writing your Will, please get in touch on 01953 711950 or email@example.com. Alternatively, you can check out our Will Writing page for more information: https://trustedlaw.co.uk/services/will-writing/