Are there considerations for including guns in an estate plan?

On Behalf of | May 24, 2024 | Estate Planning |

For gun enthusiasts and collectors alike, in New York, integrating firearms into an estate plan requires careful attention due to state laws governing their inheritance. First, it is crucial to verify the legal ownership and registration of the firearm by the deceased. Proper registration is essential. Otherwise, the executor must surrender the firearm to authorities.

Beneficiary status

Second, the legal status of the beneficiary plays a pivotal role. Individuals with serious criminal convictions or felonies are ineligible to inherit firearms due to licensing restrictions. This is regardless of your wishes and the familial importance of the firearm itself. Though, it could be held in trust to keep it in the family and out of public hands.

The transfer process

The transfer process of firearms is another critical consideration. Executors have a limited exemption period of 15 days to hold the firearm without a license. Following this, they must either transfer the firearm to the beneficiary or surrender it to law enforcement.


Documentation is vital throughout this process. Executors must file a “firearms inventory” with the New York courts, detailing the possession and transfer of firearms, including make, model, caliber, serial number and estimated value.


Gun owners can take proactive measures to simplify the process. Creating an inventory of firearms before death can provide clarity to the executor regarding their existence, location and licensing status. Additionally, careful consideration should be given to selecting beneficiaries.

In essence, integrating firearms into a New York estate plan requires understanding and adherence to specific legal considerations. These measures are essential for ensuring a smooth and lawful transition of firearms following the owner’s demise.