Re: NFA Form 5 transfer - heirs
Distribution of estate firearms. A decedent’s registered NFA firearms may be conveyed taxexempt
to lawful heirs. These distributions are not treated as voluntary “transfers” under the NFA.
Rather, they are considered to be involuntary “transfers by operation of law.” Under this concept, ATF
will honor State court decisions relative to the ownership and right to possess NFA firearms. So, when
State courts authorize the distribution of estate firearms to decedents’ lawful heirs, ATF will approve the
distribution and registration to the heirs if the transactions are otherwise lawful. A lawful heir is anyone
named in the decedent’s will or, in the absence of a will, anyone entitled to inherit under the laws of the
State in which the decedent last resided.
170 18 U.S.C. 922(a)(4); 27 CFR 478.28