Does Every Gun Owner Need a Specialized Trust?
The laws are always changing with respect to guns. Every state has individualized gun laws. It is important that when it comes to firearms, legal documents are executed correctly and according to the laws of that state.
Estate planning can take a bit of time and effort to address all aspects of one’s estate and ensure that all assets are both protected and dispersed according to the trustor’s wishes. A trustor is the individual who makes the trust. Establishing a trust for a gun collection is generally an important step for guns with restrictions set forth by the National Firearms Act (NFA), such as short-barreled shotguns or fully automatic firearms. Gunowners with weapons that are not heavily restricted by the NFA may not have a reason to justify the cost of an NFA gun trust.
National Firearms Act
In 1934, the National Firearms Act was passed that impacted gun owners. This act allowed the government to collect funding through taxation with respect to guns and it also served to limit or stop transactions related to specific firearms. The intent of this law was the belief that making it more arduous and costly to own and transfer specific guns would curtail gun crime.
To learn more about the NFA and how it may impact your estate plan, the Texas estate planning lawyer at The Law Office of Jason Carr can provide more information and answer your questions.
Top Benefits of Having a Gun Trust
Concerning NFA-restricted guns, a gun trust allows these firearms to be transferred and owned legally and lawfully. Passing on one’s highly regulated firearms with a specialized trust avoids potential issues with federal law violations during the process.
There are several benefits of establishing a gun trust including:
- Even though a background check and documentation will be required by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF), when done correctly, a trust provides for less paperwork and a smoother transition for inheriting restricted guns.
- A trust can protect restricted guns and keep them in the family.
- A trust provides privacy because it avoids the highly public probate process.
- A gun trust can allow for more than one person to not only have access to a gun but also be able to legally use it.
- A trust can keep firearms in the family long after the initial trustor has passed on.
- A trust can assist the estate’s executor with managing guns so they do not have to worry about making mistakes and violating the law.
- A trust may potentially protect current firearms from possible bans and laws against such guns that could arise in the future.
Can You Create a Gun Trust Without the Help of an Attorney?
A gun owner is under no obligation or legal requirement to use an attorney for establishing a gun trust. That being said, due to the complicated nature of creating a gun trust, it is easy to make mistakes. Mistakes related to gun possession and use are serious in the United States. Even innocent missteps with documentation or errors following specific regulations can result in costly fines and potential criminal charges. Also, when considering the use of a trust for the purposes of a more simplified way to allow multiple people to use guns and inherit them, if the trust is not done properly, then these objectives may not come to fruition.
An experienced estate planning attorney that understands specialized trusts, such as gun trusts, will know how to ensure that the legal documents are prepared and executed according to the regulations and the law. An experienced estate planning attorney can also provide more information and insight into how the process works and when or if modifications should be done to ensure legal compliance.
Different Types of NFA Firearms
A gun owner may or may not be aware that the firearm they have is NFA regulated. It is vital to understand what firearms one has in their collection and possession to stay current with respect to the law.
The following types of NFA-restricted firearms provide further examples:
- Machine Guns
- Short Barreled Rifles
- Short Barreled Shotguns
- Silencers and Suppressors
- Other weapons that may be firearms or related accessories that may not fit into one of the above category types.
Speak to an Estate Planning Attorney Today
An experienced and dedicated attorney can help you weigh the pros and cons of establishing a gun trust in your specific circumstances. Ultimately you will need to make the decision if having one will benefit and support the goals of your estate plan. To discuss your estate planning needs, including how to plan for the transfer of your guns, contact our legal team today at The Law Office of Jason Carr at (214) 800-2366.