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Firearms in Estate Administration: Legal Issues, Executor Liability, Transferring Title I and II Guns, Penalties

Understanding Gun Legal Designations, In-State and Out-of-State Transfers, Use of Gun Trusts

Recording of a 90-minute CLE video webinar with Q&A

This program is included with the Strafford CLE Pass. Click for more information.
This program is included with the Strafford All-Access Pass. Click for more information.

Conducted on Thursday, July 11, 2024

Recorded event now available

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This CLE course will guide estate planners and administrators on managing the legal challenges of firearms in estate and trust administration. The panel will discuss federal gun laws and firearm designations, issues for beneficiaries inheriting guns, in-state and out-of-state transfers, and legal ownership. The panel will also review the use of trusts and other entities to transfer guns legally and best practices to avoid mishaps in the administration of estates or trusts holding firearms.


The administration of an estate holding firearms can cause increased expenses, fees, taxes, and potential liability if mishandled. Managing guns within an estate requires an in-depth knowledge of various federal and state regulations to avoid excessive fines and criminal liability.

The National Firearms Act encompasses strict prohibitions and restrictions on the transfer of certain firearms. Prohibited possession can be actual or constructive, with zero tolerance for inadequate processes in the acquisition. Also, state laws will apply to transfers or sales of firearms within their jurisdictions. Compliance with federal and state laws becomes more complicated if there is an out-of-state transfer or sale of a gun.

Estate planners and executors must be mindful that some beneficiaries may be ineligible to receive firearms and consider alternative methods to align with a client's intent, such as naming alternate recipients or creating a gun trust. Trusts can legally hold firearms, allow a trustee to lawfully possess firearms, and minimize administration issues regarding the transfer or sale of firearms during probate.

Listen as our panel discusses the classification, ownership, and transfer rules applicable to firearms, the creation and use of gun trusts, and other planning methods to ensure the proper administration of an estate holding firearms.



  1. Firearm classification, ownership, and transfer rules
    1. Federal and state gun laws
    2. Title I vs. Title II firearms
    3. In-state and out-of-state transfers
  2. Handling the estate administration of firearms
    1. Critical considerations for gifts and bequests
    2. Valuation
    3. Legal ownership
    4. Potential penalties and liability
  3. Gun trusts
    1. Key provisions
    2. Liability issues
    3. Sale or transfer of estate-held firearms
  4. Best practices for estate planners and administrators


The panel will review these and other key issues:

  • The impact of federal and state gun laws on estate administration
  • Valuation issues for firearms and processes to overcome them
  • Transferring or selling Title I vs. Title II firearms
  • In-state vs. out-of-state transfer processes and considerations
  • Handling the estate administration of firearms outside of a trust
  • Creating gun trusts and critical provisions


Pierce, John
John Pierce

The Law Office of John Pierce

Mr. Pierce is the serving Chair of the American Bar Association Second Amendment Civil Rights Litigation Subcommittee...  |  Read More

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