Monday, December 16, 2019

How Does a Gun Trust Work?

Do you own guns in Texas? Are you interested in purchasing Title II firearms restricted by the National Firearms Act (NFA)? If so, you may want to discuss a gun trust with a Texas gun trust lawyer. A gun trust allows you to protect your guns during and after your lifetime without the issues that often arise after a gun owner's death.

What Is a Gun Trust in Texas?

A gun trust is a revocable trust created to hold title to your firearms. Because the trust is a legal entity, it becomes the legal owner of the guns is transferred to the trust or purchased by the trust. A trustee is named to manage the trust for the trust’s beneficiaries. Because the trust is revocable, the grantor can make changes to the trust agreement or void the trust at any time before the grantor’s death. Upon the death of the grantor, the trust becomes irrevocable. An alternate trustee manages the trust for the individuals who become the beneficiaries after the grantor’s death.

Gun trusts are also referred to as NFA Trusts because they are typically created to own property subject to Title II of the National Firearms Act (NFA). Firearms that are subject to the restrictions and laws of the NFA include short-barreled rifles, suppressors, machine guns, and short-barreled shotguns. A gun trust has special rules and provisions that ensure the trustee and beneficiaries do not violate the NFA. Violating federal gun laws, even accidentally violating the laws, could result in loss of firearms, a prison term of up to 10 years, and fines up to $10,000.

Why Do I Need a Gun Trust?

There are many benefits of establishing a gun trust, especially if you want to purchase Title II guns. One of the most obvious benefits is ensuring that your heirs do not accidentally violate NFA provisions. The terms and conditions of a gun trust are intended to prevent some common violations of the NFA.

For example, a potential owner of a Title II NFA weapon must be registered before possessing the firearm, including heirs and beneficiaries. Therefore, if a gun owner dies, problems can quickly develop if the personal representative of the estate is not registered or the intended heir is not registered. If the heir cannot qualify for registration for any reason, the problem escalates.

Because a trust is a legal entity, it can register to own a Title II firearm. Any trustee legally representing the trust can legally possess a firearm registered to the trust.

A gun trust also allows gun owners to keep information about their guns private. Trusts are not subject to probate; therefore, the firearms owned through a trust are never listed in a person’s probate estate. Furthermore, a gun trust can be used to hold title to other firearms to protect a gun collection and preserve it for future generations.

Consult a Texas Estate Planning Attorney to Set Up a Gun Trust

It is best to consult a Texas estate planning attorney to ensure that a gun trust provides the protections you want and that you and your beneficiaries do not violate any gun laws. Contact the Law Office of Carey Thompson today to learn more. Our attorneys can create a trust that complies with all laws and maximizes other benefits of using trust agreements as part of your estate plan.

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