Clients commonly ask, “what are the chief benefits of a Gun Trust today.” With recent changes in NFA law requiring all purchasers to submit fingerprints and other documentation for a background check, the benefits are not as immediate as they used to be. However the longterm and most important benefits have remained the same. In a word: Flexibility.
A Gun Trust allows you, the creator, to list multiple people as Trustees. Any one of these persons can possess guns owned by the Trust and transact business on behalf of the Trust. This allows your spouse to have access to the firearm without committing an unintentional felony. And any good husband knows that keeping your wife out of jail is a fundamental necessity to a happy marriage!
Or you can allow a friend or youth (18 or over) to borrow your NFA firearms and use them without you present. The Trust thereby allows you to share your NFA firearms in a manner very similar to how you might share your other firearms. Not lightly, but with the right forethought to those you know are responsible.
In short, a Gun Trust gives you the flexibility to allow others to use your NFA firearms outside of your presence.
A Gun Trust is completely controlled by you, the creator. Life changes, and so can your Gun Trust. You can add or remove Trustees at any time. This is helpful to reflect the changes in life that come with time, such as marriage, divorce, the maturing of children, etc.
What we establish today is just the beginning, and you can change at your leisure who will be able to possess and use the firearms. This gives you the flexibility to adapt your Gun Trust to your current needs even as those needs change overtime.
A Gun Trust also clearly lays out what happens to the firearms in the future. Should anything happen to the Trustees, your Successor Trustees can step in and take care of the firearms and the Trust. But since these Successor Trustees have no current role, they are not subject to any ATF background check. Rather, they are waiting in the wings if needed, and until then are not involved with the operation of the Trust.
The Beneficiaries you name will receive the firearms owned by the Trust upon your passing. Like a will, this allows you to direct who inherits the firearms, but unlike a will, probate is not required. We can create multiple tiers of Beneficiaries to ensure that the firearms are passed down even if one of your Beneficiaries is deceased or not interested in the firearms.
Thus a Gun Trust gives you control over how the firearms are passed down, even if your first choice of a Beneficiary is not available.
A Gun Trust outlives you. Even after your death the firearms remain in your family and no transfer paperwork needs to be filed with the ATF until the Trust is terminated. With multiple beneficiaries, that may be multiple generations in the future. Therefore the gun remains owned by the Trust, and the Trustees and Beneficiaries can continue to enjoy ownership through the Trust.
Thus if your first Beneficiary takes no action with the firearms and instead ignores them, your second Beneficiary won’t have to explain that inaction to the ATF at a later date. The Trust provides flexibility to your Beneficiaries regarding when and how they claim the inheritance in the Trust.
These are some of the most important ways in which a Gun Trust can be of benefit when purchasing a NFA firearm. (Or when protecting a large collection of all types of guns.) Robert commonly helps clients in South Carolina create a Gun Trust to protect their collection, allow multiple possessors, and to pass down the collection. To get started on a Trust, or to learn how a Trust can specifically help you, contact Robert.