What is a Gun Trust and How Does it Help Me?

Gun trusts deal with ownership of firearms that are based on federal and state regulations. With these trusts, it’s easier to possess and handle firearms after the owner passes away and keep beneficiaries from accidentally breaking the law. In today’s blog, the wills and trusts attorneys at Davidson Law Group revisit the topic of gun trusts and share the benefits of a gun trust.

Weapons Held in Trust

Gun trusts are typically used for firearms covered by the National Firearms Act of 1934 (NFA). They include fully automated machine guns, suppressors/silencers, short-barreled shotguns and rifles, large caliber weapons and explosives, and a category called A.O.W. (stands for Any Other Weapon like a knife gun). NFA weapons must be registered with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (BATFE or aka ATF). The weapons may only be possessed and used by the registered owner, and state laws may apply additional restrictions. A gun trust can avoid some of the federal transfer requirements and achieve other goals too.

Help the Executor

The executor of your estate is the one who’s responsible for gathering your assets, paying your debts, and divvying up what remains. It’s vital for the trustee to be familiar with the ownership and possession rules of NFA weapons. An executor who transfers a weapon without going through the proper procedure violates criminal law. The Gun Control Act makes it illegal for anyone who was ever convicted of a felony or of domestic violence to possess firearms.

When firearms are in a trust, the executor is not involved — the trustee is in charge. It’s best to name a trustee who is trained in state and federal gun laws.

Use and Possession

Did you know? Taking friends out shooting with your personally owned class 3 weapons is illegal. With proper setup, more than one person is allowed to possess and use the weapons held in trust. If you name more than one person as trustee, each executor will have the right to own or use the trust firearms. This may help the owner and other loved ones avoid committing an accidental crime.

Related Post: Benefits of a Gun Trust

Possessing NFA Firearms

In order to use or possess one of your trust’s NFA firearms, have a tax stamp and the trust document with you, including all amendments. The tax stamp shows that the ATF approved the trust and the transfer, and the trust paperwork will show that you’re a trustee of the trust.

Easier Inheritance

The gun may be kept in trust even after the owner’s death, which grants the owner permission to pass on weapons, such as a collection of firearms, how he/she wants to. It may also give beneficiaries all of the same gun trust advantages that the owner had during his/her life. The legal heir must submit an ATF form to inherit the weapons, but the trusts allow for a successor to take over the trust without needing a transfer of ownership. However, problems may occur if the recipient is underage.

Related Post: Davidson Law Group Explains Gun Trusts

Contact Davidson Law Group

If you need assistance with the process of setting up a gun trust, Davidson Law Group is here to help. Our experienced wills and trust attorneys can also assist you with passing down your guns to the next generation. Contact us in Fort Worth, Allen, or Tyler for a free Gun Trust consultation.