Estate Planning for Gun Trusts
Gun owners may have heard some things about the benefits of “Gun Trusts,” but most don’t know what options exist. Gun Trusts are specifically designed to hold and pass ownership of firearms. Usually, Gun Trusts are created for the ownership of firearms that are subject to strict federal and state regulations. The reality is that Gun Trusts can include other kinds of weapons as well. Gun Trusts can make it easier to possess and own firearms after the original owner’s death. More importantly, Gun Trusts may prevent surviving family members from inadvertently violating the law.
Gun Trusts are created for weapons that are regulated by two federal laws: the National Firearms Act of 1934 (NFA) and a revision of that law, Title II of the Gun Control Act of 1968. Weapons and firearms that are regulated by these federal laws are often called NFA or Title II firearms. NFA weapons include silencers, short-barreled rifles, machine guns, and short-barreled shotguns (including sawed-off shotguns), and other weapons.
A Gun Trust can avoid many of the federal transfer requirements and accomplish other goals as well such as:
- Allow more than one person to possess and use an NFA firearm held in the Gun Trust;
- Keep the firearm in the trust even after the current owner’s death, which avoids the usual transfer requirements;
- Help the executor of an estate deal with NFA firearms and weapons.
- Allows the owner of the Gun Trust to avoid probate concerning the NFA firearm; and
- Possibly avoid future restrictions on gun transfers.
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