Gun trusts are often used to hold ownership of NFA or Title II firearms that are subject to strict federal and state regulations. However, they can be used to hold other kinds of weapons as well. In general, gun trusts make it easier to transfer and manage firearms after the original owner (the maker of the trust) passes away. Let’s take a closer look at the benefits of gun trusts.
Avoid some federal transfer requirements
By keeping firearms in the trust after the trustmaker’s death, inheritors don’t have to pay the $200 transfer tax on NFA firearms, file an ATF transfer form, or get fingerprinted and photographed.
Avoid family infighting over who owns and can use firearms held in the trust after the trustmaker passes away
Each person named as trustee can possess and use all firearms held in the trust.
Assist and protect the estate’s executor
The executor of an estate is the person responsible for gathering estate assets, paying debts, and distributing assets to heirs. An executor could unwittingly violate criminal laws by transferring weapons without following proper procedures. By putting firearms in a gun trust, the executor is not involved in the transfer of ownership—the trustee is in charge. (You may want to choose a trustee who understands federal gun laws.)
Property held in trusts, including firearms, does not need to go through probate. This allows heirs to avoid the delays, frustration, and needless expense typically associated with probate.
Avoid future restrictions on gun transfers
If it becomes illegal to leave certain firearms to beneficiaries (or transfer them during one’s lifetime), a gun trust may allow beneficiaries to avoid such restrictions.
Ensure certain firearms can remain in the family for generations to come
For your gun trust to accomplish goals like these, it is important to work with an attorney who has experience in this area of the law. Attorney Richard Sakoda has designed numerous gun trusts for owners of firearms in Hawaii. We invite you to contact us for a personal meeting to discuss your particular needs and goals.