Why do I need a Gun Trust? A Gun Trust is a planning tool that can own your regulated and non-regulated firearms in order to prevent accidental felonies through gift, sale, devise, transfer, access/control/possession, and “sharing”. Your Gun Trust can correspond with or be completely different than your current estate plan as some members in your family may have no interest in your firearms.
The word “Transfer” as mentioned above is defined by the National Firearms Act (“NFA”) to include selling, assigning, pledging, leasing, loaning, giving away, or otherwise disposing of an NFA firearm. This definition is where most people get commit “accidental felonies.”
What are NFA regulated Firearms/Items? NFA firearms include the following categories whether you purchase, alter, or manufacture them:
- Machine Guns (automatic weapons);
- Short-barreled rifles;
- Short-barreled shotguns;
- Silencers (suppressors);
- Destructive devices; and
- Any other weapons (a category of firearm such as book, pen, and cane-guns etc.)
Please see the following list of reasons in which someone may want/need a Gun Trust:
- Helps clients enjoy and transfer firearms within the law;
- Easy to create, amend, and maintain in order to abide by the law;
- Helps manage concerns and protect gun owners from accidentally breaking the law;
- Assists clients with responsible use and ensuring that their firearms are passed on to those who appreciate them;
- Generally no registration or annual fees as with a Florida corporate entity or LLC; and
- Allows flexible options on how firearms may be passed on.
Frequently asked Gun Trust questions:
- Can I just put my NFA or regular firearms in my regular Revocable Living Trust?
Generally, this is not a good idea, especially for NFA items. Conventional Living Trusts are dangerous to use for guns because they are broadly drafted and do not provide on-the-fly versatility or specific guidance needed to protect the gun owner, trustee, or beneficiaries. Additionally, if you already have a Revocable Living Trust, currently own NFA items in your own name, and wish to transfer them to your Trust you will have a Transfer issue, thus making it more complicated and expensive.
- Isn’t purchasing a Gun Trust online cheaper?
Yes, you will likely pay a little less to purchase one online, but the validity of that document may be questionable and you will likely be receiving a boilerplate document that is not customized to your individual situation. Your document will likely be the same as everyone else or be incorrect as you may not know the proper information to provide or include. This may be alright if everyone else had the same amount of NFA items, trustees, goals, beneficiaries, etc. No client is the same and we will draft your Gun Trust to your specific needs.
Further, it is unknown if the online Gun Trusts will properly dictate your wishes once you pass away. It may not properly instruct or protect your loved ones from preventing accidental felonies once you pass away. It is important to know and plan if one of your beneficiaries becomes a prohibited person that cannot receive or take possession of that NFA item either permanently or temporarily
Even without pulling the trigger, gun ownership and use create risk in our legal system. Bottom line is that “you don’t know what you don’t know.” The commission of an “accidental felony” does not negate the fact that a felony was committed just because you did not know your actions constituted a felony. The local, state, and federal laws that expose the unwary to commission of the “accidental felony” can be quite confusing.
Please contact us today for further information on Gun Trusts and the new NFA rule 41F effective as of July 13, 2016.