When you die, what will happen to your guns? This is a question that many firearm owners simply do not ask and may leave their family without the weapons that they cherish.
In fact, some may be illegal to own once you die due to new ownership and laws that will be adopted after legally obtaining them.
Let’s find out what you can do to ensure your guns are going to be passed down to your family members in order to keep them safe and secure.
What Is a Gun Trust?
Federal and state laws prohibit the new ownership of certain firearms. This is a way to ensure that the guns you own and the right of ownership and usage is passed down to the beneficiary.
This is an effective way to circumvent some of the legal provisions that have been enacted by the United States and the United Kingdom.
By the way, you can read a lot more about it even on this website: Nolo.com
Its Main Benefits
The main advantages are fairly straightforward. Establishing will:
- Act as a means of transfer for any guns you may own to a specified recipient.
- Trusts allow laws to not be violated due to local and government regulations.
- Guns that are regulated within the NFA or Title II firearms can be passed down.
- Many trustees can be named, which will enable multiple people to possess or use it.
- Weapons may stay within the trust so that transfer fees are never a necessity while keeping the rights of usage intact as stated within the document itself.
- Executors of your estate will be able to avoid any legal repercussions or problems that may arise as a result of the firearm.
Gun trusts will also alleviate many of the family problems that may be caused by your death. If you own an expensive or rare firearm, this will put a halt to any quarrels that may arise after your demise!
Relevant US & UK Laws
[Worth reading – Will Family Survival System by Frank Mitchell Save Your Loved Ones?]
The law that prohibit certain guns within the United States is the National Firearms Act, often called NFA or Title II. This was put into effect in 1934. The Title II specifies specific types that are not legal.
The Title I refers to the Gun Control Act of 1968. Within the NFA, there are specific sections which allow for the transfer of weapons under concrete criteria. This is the legal aspect of the law that will enable for a trust to be effective.
United Kingdom laws are much stricter on the regulation of guns and after a person’s death, the beneficiary will need to contact local authorities to declare the weapon. Afterwards, the wishes of the deceased will follow. Usually its registration and licensing will be required.
Keep in mind: Destruction of certain things may be required or necessary!
Types of Weapons That Can Be Covered by This Arrangements
Gun trusts can be used for any weapon that a person owns, but they are often only sought when one would violate the law. For instance, the following weapons are considered NFA firearms and are highly regulated:
- Machine guns
- Certain shotguns
These will need to be registered with the government. If they have not already been registered, they are considered illegal to own. There are other things that can be transferred as well, but those violating the NFA or Title II will be ones most commonly seen within this type of arrangement.
There are further things that may be included within a trust, such as a grenade, but these will require further previsions to be added. A general rule of thumb is any gun not currently legal under recent legislative provisions or that has a chance of becoming illegal in the future should be included within as well.
Please note: Even currently legal guns may be added as a safety precaution just in case state or government laws happen to change in the future or after your death. Even if you have a young child, you can add provisions that would only grant them the weapon when they reach a certain age.
Step-by-Step Procedure of Creating a Gun Trust
Its creation is a matter of preference. Software exists or free templates which will allow you to create a specific trust in your state. These software are simple to use and provide a step-by-step procedure for you.
You will want to:
- Create a trust using the software provided.
- Assign trustees.
- Fill out the ATF Form No. 4 which initiates its transfer (See below for pdf file of this form).
- Make a packet that includes:
- a) 2 Copies of Form 4
- b) 2 Copies of the trust (Notarized)
- c) Payment
Once the packet is complete, you will need to send it to the National Firearms Act Branch. The address is:
National Firearms Act Branch
P.O. Box 530298
Atlanta, GA 30353-0298
Now, you will simply wait for approval. This can take up to 8 months.
What Stuff Do You Need to Fill out?
There is only one form that will need to be filled out. This will be the AFT Form No.4.
How Much Does It Cost?
If the firearm will stay within the possession of a trust wherein the trustee will act as the beneficiary, there will be no fees assessed. Otherwise, as seen on ATF Form No. 4, there will be a $200 fee assessed for the transfer of NFA items and a $5 for AOWs.
Keep in mind: Fees pertaining to starting the trust and any legal counsel needed to create it according to government and state laws will vary greatly.
Best Place and Way to Get One
You may be tempted to go through the steps we outlined above. These are accurate steps that will establish a legal trust in your name. However, we highly recommend contacting a lawyer to create the document for you. In fact, specialty lawyers focusing on this exist that can get the process started and ensure that your firearm is put into a trust for your loved ones.
With a legal professional, there is a major benefit in him or her knowing your state’s local laws and any new changes that may have been introduced in recent weeks or months!