A gun trust, like other trusts, can be an important part of your estate planning. In Texas, the state with the most guns in the U.S., having gun trusts is fairly common. As knowledgeable estate planning attorneys in the state are well aware, gun trusts can serve a number of purposes. For those who value their guns as investments as well as weapons for hunting and personal protection, consulting with the Law Office of Carey Thompson, PC in Fort Worth can be invaluable. Our firm has cutting-edge legal information about gun laws and treats every client with respect and personal concern.
Gun Laws in Texas and the U.S.
Because guns are carefully regulated by the National Firearms Act, a gun trust is sometimes referred to as an NFA trust. Such a trust covers Title II firearms, including machine guns, short-barreled rifles, short-barreled shotguns (sawed-off shotguns), suppressors (silencers), and grenades. All NFA weapons are required to be registered with the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and to have serial numbers, also known as ATFs.
A Gun Trust Is An Atypical Revocable Trusts
Although gun trusts are revocable during the grantor’s lifetime and only become irrevocable once the grantor dies, they differ from other revocable trusts in several ways. For one thing, when creating a gun trust it is common to name multiple trustees, each of whom has rights of possession and use. For another, gun trusts can continue to remain intact for several generations.
Benefits of A Gun Trust
Gun trusts offer several advantages for you and your heirs, such as:
Since there are a great many laws governing the sale, purchase, ownership, taxation, transfer of ownership, inheritance, and use of guns, it is necessary to ensure that neither you nor your beneficiaries break the law. Having your trusted estate planning attorney establish a gun trust will help ensure that no one in your family has to worry about accidentally committing a felony.
Smoother Transfer of Ownership
Another benefit of creating a gun trust is that some of the federal transfer requirements can be avoided since the trust takes your gun collection out of your name. By naming more than one person as trustee, each trustee will have the right to access the firearms in the collection, thus making inheritance go more smoothly. Your beneficiaries will also avoid paying a transfer tax and will not have to be fingerprinted or photographed.
Making Things Easier for Your Executor
Establishing a gun trust can also prevent your executor, who may not have familiarity with regulations concerning guns, from getting into legal trouble through ignorance. This is because when you create a gun trust, our adept gun law attorneys will assist you in choosing a trustee who has enough of a handle on state and federal gun law to assume the role, or who will become schooled in the subject in preparation.
Another advantage of having a gun trust is that trusts, unlike wills, do not have to be probated. This makes passing your gun collection on to your heirs will be less costly and less time-consuming than leaving it to them through your will.
Protecting Your Privacy.
Because probate documents are public, if your firearms are included in your estate rather than put into a gun trust, anyone can easily check the inventory of your firearms and the market value of each one. This may compromise your best interests or the interests of your heirs. Creating a gun trust puts you at a distinct advantage, especially if your beneficiaries want to liquidate your collection. By wording the trust carefully, our gun trust attorneys can specify your wishes so that, for example, the proceeds from the sale of your firearms can be invested to provide income for your heirs or enrich a charity of your choice.
Protecting Your Beneficiaries If You Become Incapacitated
The law forbids an incapacitated person from owning a firearm, so if you, the owner of a gun collection, become seriously impaired, only a person with the legal right to own a gun can take possession of your guns without breaking the law. Once your guns are in a trust, the trustee can hold or distribute the collection according to your wishes as stated in the trust.
Allowing Others To Shoot One of Your Guns
Under federal law, an NFA Title II weapon can only be used by the person to whom it is registered. Though it may come as a surprise to you, it is actually a felony to allow a family member or friend to take a shot with your gun while hunting or even at a shooting range. Once the gun trust attorneys at Carey Thompson create a gun trust for you, however, all trustees, once they have gone through background checks and met identification requirements, are given rights of possession and use.
Who Is Forbidden To Be a Trustee for a Gun Trust?
Under the Gun Control Act it unlawful for certain individuals to receive, possess, ship or transport firearms. This makes it important to choose a trustee who meets the requirements for gun ownership. You should also be aware that if the chosen trustee becomes ineligible for gun ownership once in the role, that person must resign from the position immediately to avoid legal risk. An individual is not permitted to be gun trustee if he or she:
- Has been convicted of a felony
- Has been convicted of domestic violence or is under a restraining order
- Has used a controlled substance unlawfully
- Is an illegal alien
- Is a fugitive
- Is mentally challenged or committed to psychiatric confinement
- Has been discharged from military service under dishonorable conditions
- Has renounced U.S. citizenship
Because the chief reason to establish a gun trust is to facilitate an efficient transfer of the weapon collection to an heir at the time of your death, our gun trust attorneys will help you to establish that your designated trustee and final beneficiary will pass the necessary background check.
Trust the Law Office of Carey Thompson with Your Gun Trusts
Our experienced estate planning attorneys are well-prepared to establish all kinds of trusts to help manage and protect your assets, including your guns, now and in the future. We will listen to you carefully and respond to your particular needs and desires. For assistance with creating well-crafted, durable gun trusts and with dealing with all aspects of your estate planning, contact our conscientious attorneys by phone or through our website.