NFA Form 5 transfer - heirs

Discussion in 'NFA Firearms & Related Items' started by LawBob, Jun 22, 2009.

  1. LawBob

    LawBob New Member

    Jun 22, 2009
    My brother passed owning "several" titleII arms. He had no will.

    I am curious what is required to transfer these to his "heirs" tax-free...that is, what proof is required regarding heirship?

    DO you just fill out the form and send it in?

    Do you have to attach the probate Letters of Administration?

    Does the Executor (in this case his wife) have to transfer it acting as "the Estate of Firstname Lastname" of my brother?

    What if she simply wishes to sell them (form 4) outright...

    Do you just surrender them to a Class 3 dealer and let him sell it (or, in my case, if I purchase it from her, then who is the transferee - the estate, or the class 3 dealer?)

    Thank you.

    FYI - one of the items is an HK G3, unfired. Don't know which version yet, but I am also certain he has 10's of clips/accessories for it. Let me know if you have mild interest.


    Jan 28, 2009
    Bob, I`ll try to help. First "never" surrender them to anyone. You do not mention your State and even though it is legal in your State as proof of ownership proves this; laws very.

    Some States allow the transfer within the family for no charge ($200.00 NFA TAX) as long as they/you can pass a background check for regular firearms.
    You will still have to provide the same information that was required to own these as in the begining.

    She can sell them outright to a Class II/III dealer, expect no less than 80/85% or retail OR move on.

    They can also be transfered to you through the estate as mentioned above for a small fee, you may have to pay the NFA tax, that I am unsure of.

    Any Class II/III worth his salt can guide you best and what will or won`t work. Above all don`t get taken and get several opinions from several dealers.

    Like anything else some know more than others.

    Good luck and keep them in the family, a wonderful investment grade weapon never returns once gone.

  3. Alpo

    Alpo Well-Known Member

    Feb 3, 2007
    NW Florida
    I think there is some wrong information given above.

    If he died without a will, the court is going to decide who gets what. Until that happens, nothing can be sold.

    I believe that, even if you (the heirs as a whole) want to sell the gun and split the money, first it will have to be transferred to one of you, since your brother, obviously, cannot sign the transfer documents himself. This is done on a Form 5, which has no fee. Whoever it is transferred to can then sell it.

    The states have no say on how an NFA item is transferred. They just can say, "Yes, you can own one here", or, "No, they aren't legal here".

    If y'all decide that you want the G3, but that the others need to get paid for it, the smart thing to do is transfer it to you on a Form 5, and you pay the others their shares. If you go through a dealer, you will end up paying the dealer a commission, and an additional 400 dollars in transfer fees.

    If his wife is the executor of his estate, she can hang on to them until probate has decided what is going to happen to them.

    Do not give them to a dealer. Do not give them to the cops. Do not give them to anyone. Just leave them in the safe (or wherever your brother kept them) until probate decides what to do with them.
  4. PPK 32

    PPK 32 Active Member

    Apr 15, 2008
    Frickin, Illinois
    You will have two things to research and know before ya do anything at all. Number one you must find out what your state's requirements are for any sale or transfer of firearms in this situation. Depending on which state you live in will dictate how the estate will be handled. If the estate is small, there may not be any probate involved. Do your homework. As stated above, never surrender any weapon to a dealer or ,cops etc.. Know the value of these guns, before thinking about selling em. I have seen gun shops, buy at 50% value. Hope this helps. Don't forget to check on ammo too.


    Jan 28, 2009


    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
  6. glassmountains

    glassmountains New Member

    Sep 26, 2009
    First of all, States have no control over the 200.00 transfer tax. It is a Federal Tax. The guns may be transferred to a legal heir without paying the tax. There is a special form to fill out that you get from ATF along with instructions. They will define who a legal heir is. If you fall within that definition then you save 200.00.

    If your sister is going to keep them they need to be transferred into her name which is tax free and you do not need a CLEO signature (I think)
  7. betty78

    betty78 New Member

    Nov 15, 2009
    Hi There!
    Im new in this site!
    Do not give them to a dealer. Do not give them to the cops. Do not give them to anyone. Just leave them in the safe (or wherever your brother kept them) until probate decides what to do with them.
    Hope everyone is doing well.
    Just keep on posting Guys!
    Good Luck!....
  8. GMFWoodchuck

    GMFWoodchuck New Member

    Oct 9, 2008
    Binghamton, NY
    No, this is not the case any more in America. Lawyers have hijacked the system. We can thank the rich folks in America for suing for their "share" of what was their parents after they had married someone else. ie Anna Nicole Smith and her deceased husband and rich bratty children. Spouses has no rights any more to their belongings. Oh, and wills don't mean squat either, as people will just claim the deceased weren't of "sound mind and body" and therefore wasn't able to make decisions like that. So it's all up to a judge now. You can thank lawyers for that.
  9. GMFWoodchuck

    GMFWoodchuck New Member

    Oct 9, 2008
    Binghamton, NY
    If these firearms do not need any special licensing, just take them. Assuming you have the family's blessing to do so. If my dad passes away, I'm just taking his guns. I'm not getting the ATF involved. And my sisters don't want them. I'll just make sure that my mom has a good shotgun and 22 around for shooting varmints and perps. They can't prove squat anyway. He gave them to me/you years ago, remember.....hint hint....
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2009
  10. bluesea112

    bluesea112 Active Member

    Nov 20, 2005
    West, TX
    GMFWoodchuck, the guns in question are NFA items, not your typical gun collection. That means the U.S. Schutzstaffel will kick in your door and kill your family pet if you don't pay them $200 and register the NFA items in your name.
  11. bluesea112

    bluesea112 Active Member

    Nov 20, 2005
    West, TX
    Did I just say that outloud? oops.

    Oh well, sometimes it is best to identify and mark the piles so other's don't step in them.
  12. medalguy

    medalguy Member

    Feb 20, 2009
    New Mexico
    bluesea, you weren't far off the mark except there will be no transfer fee to the legal heir. But they certainly can't just be taken away and the ATF not involved!:eek: If that happens the person in possession will be in violation of the law and the U.S. Schutzstaffel will most likely come calling just as you mentioned.

    To the OP, if he died intestate, let the attorney or court decide who will be the lawful heir and file the Form 5 as mentioned to transfer title to the heir. There is no transfer fee at all. They can always be sold after you have had time to think hard about what you want to keep or sell. As mentioned, once these guns leave the family they will never return. Go slow and be sure what you're doing. A call to the local ATF office MAY help, depends on who answers the phone and how much they know. It's unfortunate but I have often found that I know more about the law than some of the ATF folks do. So go slow. And good luck.
  13. wpage

    wpage Active Member

    Aug 25, 2009
    Possession is 9/10ths of the law.
  14. medalguy

    medalguy Member

    Feb 20, 2009
    New Mexico
    That may be so in some areas, but if you are in possession of an NFA item not registered to you, you are going to Club Fed. Count on that.
  15. OcelotZ3

    OcelotZ3 Former Guest

    Jan 31, 2010
    My father's estate went through this a few years ago. I had the estate transfer a SBR to me, and we also went through the transfer of two machine guns to a buyer.

    For either type of transfer, you'll need copies of the original registration papers. If you don't have them/can't find them, then you have to roll the dice and hope the BATFE will look them up. According to a friend who does a LOT of transfers, you'll probably be out of luck.

    You fill out the forms, get your fingerprints done, etc. The administrator of the estate has to sign the transfer form. (You used to be able to see the form online to see what was needed). You then send it in, along with copies of the original registration papers & fingerprints and play the waiting game... The local Sheriff also has to sign something, either the original forms or something else, I forget.

    If you get approved, those papers then go back *to the administrator of the estate*, not you. In my case, I wasn't notified and only found out about a month later by contacting BATFE and being told that it was accepted a month earlier, and my brother had been sitting on the papers for all that time without telling me... So I would recommend telling the administrator that you are very interested in when they come in and to notify you ASAP.

    It wasn't too difficult and didn't cost much. The fingerprints were the highest cost item.
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