Schedule A, Schedule of Assets, Assignment Sheet. This document goes by many names, but what is it? Colloquially, it is most commonly referred to as “Schedule A” and basically lists what is owned by a trust.
The Schedule of Assets, often abbreviated as “Schedule A”, is a list of all property owned by a trust. This would include any money, bank accounts, firearms, or other property you may place into the trust. Typically there is no place for a signature on a Schedule A. A signature is not required, because the Schedule A does not place property into the trust; it merely recognizes that the property is already there. (And placed in by another means; many times the trust itself.)
The Assignment Sheet is a variant of Schedule A that actually places the property into the trust; i.e. assigns the property to the trust. When used consistently to place property into the trust, the Assignment Sheet also functions as a list of the property in the trust. Because assigning an item to the trust is an action, there are places for signatures on Assignment Sheets.
When Should I List My Firearm on the Schedule A?
When you list your firearm is important, but not critical. Generally, I advise clients to assign the firearm to the trust (i.e. list on a Schedule A or complete the Assignment Sheet) after you can physically take the firearm home. For standard firearms, this is the day you buy them. For NFA Firearms, this is only after the Form 4 is approved.
Technically speaking, the Supreme Court has recognized that Federal law controls possession, not ownership, of firearms. Henderson v. United States, 575 US _____ (2015). Therefore, a trust could “own” the firearm before it takes possession. Thus, it would be proper to list the firearm, NFA or otherwise, on Schedule A (or assign it on the Assignment Sheet) the moment in which the Trust pays for the gun. The ATF has occasionally (albeit inconsistently) objected to this practice, and this is why I recommend waiting until you can take possession.
Do I Submit Schedule A to the ATF?
The ATF requires a full and complete copy of your Trust whenever you submit a Form 1, Form 4, or Form 5. The ATF considers any schedules, assignment sheets, or lists referred to in the Trust as part of the Trust. If you do not include these, the ATF will request them.
This is why I hesitate in advising people to specifically list all of their firearms on a Schedule A. As a way around this, my Firearms Collector Trust, which is designed to hold and pass down your entire firearm collection, uses a blanket assignment statement within the trust that captures all of your firearms and accessories without listing. With no list as part of the trust, the document is not required for submittal to the ATF.
Call it whatever you like, the Schedule A is a list of your firearms in the Trust. It is generally geared towards NFA Firearms and makes it easy for your heirs to know everything that is in the Trust. This is important during probate when they will want to be certain they have located all controlled firearms. Therefore keeping the list up to date and accurate will help avoid any mistakes in the future.