Trusts are commonly used instead of or in addition to a Will. Both instruments express your wishes as to who will receive your property after you die, and each can be considered a testamentary instrument. That being said, trusts are much more powerful than a will. You can use a trust to control not only who will receive the item, but when they will receive it, or how they will receive it.
Age restrictions can be placed on a beneficiary limiting when they can actually take possession of property. This is a nice benefit if you’re trying to protect someone from spending an inheritance all at once, but it is critical to prevent a minor from receiving a firearm. Additionally, no ones knows your beneficiaries better than you, and maturity and age do not necessarily go together. Some beneficiaries may need to wait longer than others before receiving a NFA firearm.
Perhaps a beneficiary is perfectly responsible with firearms but is a spendthrift. A trust can be used to protect your property from the creditors of the beneficiary, make the property available to the use of the trustees (which may include a beneficiary), and preserve the property for the next generation.
In the most extreme cases, your beneficiaries may not be able to legally possess a NFA firearm, or perhaps you just believe it is not a good idea. In such instances, a trust can instruct the trustees to sell any firearms in the trust and to only give the proceeds to the beneficiaries.
These control mechanisms allow you to guide the ownership, use, possession, and enjoyment of your NFA items after you are gone. Trusts are very flexible and can be designed to accommodate nearly any family situation, and through the use of a revocable trust, you can amend or modify the trust at any time during your life. As a last benefit, trusts in South Carolina are privately administered, and no one other than the trustees and beneficiaries ever has to know who receives your property.
If you are interested in NFA ownership through a trust and live in South Carolina please contact me for more information.