Creating an estate plan is a good idea for anyone, regardless of age. Many people in the U.S. own firearms--an estimated 30 percent of Americans own at least one gun. For these Americans, planning what happens to those guns after their death is an important consideration. Transferring the possession of firearms can be complicated, but using a gun trust can help streamline the process. For gun owners, gun trusts are a valuable part of a solid estate plan.
Background of National Firearms Act
The National Firearms Act (NFA) is the set of laws that regulate the making and transfer of firearms. Firearms that fall under the control of the NFA include:
- Shotguns with barrels less than 18 inches in length
- Weapons made from a shotgun
- Rifles with barrels less than 16 inches long
- Weapons made from a rifle
- Any other explosive-fueled weapons
- Machine guns
- Explosive devices
- Large caliber weapons
The NFA requires all firearms to be registered in the National Firearm Registration and Transfer Record, which is the central registry for all applicable firearms in the U.S.
The NFA also requires a stringent transfer process if you want to transfer ownership of a gun from one person to another. You must complete paperwork, pay a $200 transfer tax, get the forms signed by a chief law enforcement officer, and get fingerprinted and photographed before the transfer can be completed.
Elements of a Gun Trust
A gun trust should be its own entity, meaning that guns should not be included as part of an existing trust. The language of a gun trust should make it clear that the person creating the gun trust intends to comply with the NFA and the Gun Control Act (GCA), as well as any applicable state and local laws. During the owner’s lifetime, they should name themselves as a trustee and any eligible successor trustees. Successor trustees must be eligible to own firearms themselves, and the gun trust should contain a clause stating that trustees will be automatically removed from the trust if they become ineligible in the future.
Contact a Knowledgeable Wadsworth Estate Planning Attorney
The best time to start planning for your family’s future is now, especially if you are a gun owner. By contacting an experienced Medina estate planning lawyer, you can make sure that your estate plan covers every aspect that could be cause for concern after your death. The attorneys at Erb Legal LLC are skilled in creating sound trusts and can help you form a gun trust that can save your family stress in the future. Call our office at to set up a free consultation today.