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Passing NFA Firearms Down To Your Heirs Without A Gun Trust

Overtime you might have amassed an NFA firearm collection or a single NFA firearm that was approved as an applicant and not as a gun trust or legal entity.  But what happens to your NFA firearm collection when you pass away as an individual.  How are you going to pass down your NFA firearm collection to your heirs without a gun trust?  When you do pass way your heirs will need to use the ATF 5320.5 Application for Tax Exempt Transfer and Registration of NFA Firearms to transfer the NFA firearms that are being passed down to them.  When they use the ATF 5320.5 application, they can decide to transfer the NFA firearms to themselves as an individual, using a gun trust or as a legal entity tax free.  We will discuss how pass down your NFA firearm collection to your heirs without a gun trust.  In order for your heirs to use the ATF 5320.5 form for your tax stamps that were approved as an individual, you will need to use a will to pass down the NFA firearms.  The heirs that you want to pass down your NFA firearms to will need to be named in that will.  Once that is true, your heirs will be able to use the ATF 5320.5 application for their tax-exempt transfer.  Note: Unlike gun trusts your will will be subject to the probate process.  The probate process is supervised by a court.  With our NFA gun trusts this is not the case.  Our NFA gun trusts will pass the trust property outside of probate court.  You can learn more about our NFA gun trusts here

Instructions for this process and the paperwork that is required is below.

If in box 1 of the ATF 5320.5 you are checking the "Firearm is being transferred to a lawful heir or by operation of law" box then the below will apply to you.  When this box is checked you will need to supply the ATF with additional paperwork with your ATF 5320.5 paperwork.

  • Death Certificate:  You will need to include a death certificate of the person named in box 3a of your ATF 5320.5 application. 
  • Will:  You will need to include a copy of the will that names you as the heir.  The name of the heir should match the box in 2a.  

For more information please refer to our ATF Form 5 NFA Tax Stamp Walk-Through Guide


You can accomplish the same outcome if you use a gun trust too.  Having a gun trust will eliminate the need to have a will for your NFA firearms and your title 1 firearms.  Our trust paperwork can accept title 1 firearms and NFA firearms.  The beneficiaries of your gun trust will still need to fill out the ATF 5320.5 application to transfer the NFA Firearms to their new gun trust, legal entity or to themselves as an individual applicant.  The beneficiary would still need to supply a death certificate to use the ATF 5320.5.   

Other NFA Gun Trust and ATF Related Blog Posts



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