If the items you wish to leave to your children, spouse, or a good friend when you die include regulated firearms, a gun trust can help make the transfer easier and protect the recipient’s legal rights.
The purpose of a gun trust is to hold ownership of firearms. Legally, it is the trust that owns the restricted item, not an individual. Gun trusts can be used during a person’s lifetime to purchase restricted items, and they can also be used to transfer ownership of these items when the gun owner passes away.
Currently, the National Firearms Act (NFA) regulates the ownership of many types of firearms and paraphernalia. These include machine guns, short-barreled shotguns and rifles, silencers, and other items. Although private individuals can buy, sell, and bequeath these items, their regulation requires those receiving them to fill out extra paperwork and often pay substantial fees.
Many firearms dealers are happy to talk to gun purchasers about the benefits of a gun trust. However, not all trust instruments adequately protect the rights of the people involved – especially if they are intended to survive the owner’s death.
Working with an attorney with gun trust experience and a commitment to personalized, focused service helps you reap the full benefits of a gun trust, including:
- Allow more than one person to use the weapons held in trust. When the trust names multiple trustees or beneficiaries, each person has the right to use the items in the trust, just as if he or she owned them individually.
- Reduce the time and money costs of transfer after your death. A trust designed to survive the gun owner’s death still owns the weapons, even after the individual passes away. It can provide access to valuable collectibles or family heirlooms without forcing inheritors to pay the transfer tax or file ATF paperwork.
- Make your executor’s job easier. The person you assign to execute your final wishes may be intelligent and trustworthy but may know little about the NFA’s specific rules regarding certain weapons. The trust reduces the burden on your executor, helping him or her carry out your wishes more easily and completely.
Do you want more technical and customized insight into gun trusts? Call the experienced estate planning lawyers at ILP at (800) 827-7784 to discuss.