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Home > Blog > Estate Planning (Wills, Trusts, Deeds, Business Succession) > For Gun Owners, a Gun Trust May be a Necessity in Your Estate Plan

For Gun Owners, a Gun Trust May be a Necessity in Your Estate Plan


When we think of the different kinds of trusts in estate planning, one type of trust usually isn’t first and foremost on our minds: the gun trust. But if you do have guns, things aren’t as simple as just leaving them to whomever you want to leave them to. The passing of ownership of a gun is something that takes planning, and compliance with applicable laws, and a gun trust can assist with that.

Why a Gun Trust?

Guns are unique and need to be accounted for in an estate plan, for two major reasons.

The first is obvious—like any other property, some guns may have significant value, especially if they are antiques, or simply more expensive types of firearms.

The second reason is less obvious—guns are, of course, regulated, and simply passing them on to someone else in, say, a will, isn’t as easy or legal as it may seem to be. Guns require licenses and registrations, and you don’t want to be breaking the law—or have whomever inherits the gun, to be in violation of any laws—because of the passing of a gun to them in probate or through an estate plan.

Using the Gun Trust

All guns should be accounted for in an estate plan, but how you leave the gun, and what you put into a gun trust, largely is affected by what kind of gun it is.

Smaller firearms, that have less government regulation, can be left and passed on more easily than other, heavier weaponry, which may have more federal and state laws and regulations.

Gun trusts are almost always necessary for things like semi or fully automatic guns, shotguns, or rifles.

Making Inheriting Easier

A gun trust, done properly, can allow you or your loved ones to bypass certain federal regulations, including certain kinds of taxes on the passing of guns, or getting approval from local law enforcement to own a gun.

A gun trust also saves your executor or family members from having to deal with selling the guns. You can’t just sell a gun on ebay or online, the way you can any other kind of object. Whomever is the executor of your estate, or even whomever is left with the guns, may not want them—they may want to sell them for the money. How do they do that legally?

With a gun trust, that’s taken care of for them; the gun trust will be able to sell the guns legally, and in accordance with federal and state laws, and then distribute the proceeds, saving loved ones from having to deal with those problems, or from potentially running afoul of the law.

The trust can have provisions and conditions—ideal if someone underage is inheriting the guns, and you don’t want them to have them until they reach a certain age.

Multiple Owners

The gun trust can allow multiple designated people to sell or transfer the guns. They can even allow multiple owners of guns (for example, if you wanted your children to all be co owners), which would normally not be permissible, as most permits of certain kinds of firearms do not allow multiple owners or users of the gun).

Make sure whatever you have, is left to who you want to inherit it, the right way. Call the West Palm Beach estate planing lawyers at The Law Offices of Larry E. Bray today for your business and estate planning law needs.



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