Gun Trusts:

When an estate has firearms, the executor must be careful to avoid violating federal (and state and local) firearms laws. These laws strictly regulate possession of, and access to, certain weapons, the transfer of permissible weapons and bar certain persons from owning or having any access to firearms. Failure to comply with these laws may result in criminal liability, including stiff punishments and fines, and forfeiture of any weapons involved.  5 Careful estate planning can help with compliance with some of these laws. Most trusts used to own firearms FAIL to comply with these laws and either explicitly or implicitly create potential criminal liability for a trustee or beneficiary.

1 See Restatement (Third) of the Law of Trusts §2 (2003).
2 Id.
3 Treas. Reg. §301.7701-4(a).
4 Treas. Reg. §301.7701-2.
5 26 U.S.C. §5872; 27 C.F.R. § 479.182.

What can a Gundocx Trust do for you?

1. Purchase NFA Items
As you already know, using a trust expedites the process for purchasing NFA
firearms like silencers. Simply bring a copy of your GunDocx Trust with required
Schedules with you when you purchase your NFA items. The dealer will use the
information in the trust to fill out your Form 4. Make sure that you enter your
new NFA firearms information into your Schedule A as well! The dealer will then
mail the Form 4 and the copy of your trust to the ATF.

2. Share Your Firearms
Using your GunDocx Trust to purchase NFA items and firearms allows you to
share those items with others without committing an “accidental felony”. There
are still some rules to follow. Here’s how:
First, Section 7.01(a) defines who is a beneficiary of the trust. First, it says that
anyone you name as a “Lifetime Beneficiary” is a beneficiary of the trust and may
have possession of the trust’s assets under the Trustee’s authority to provide
benefits. In your Gun Trust Portfolio you will find forms which allow you to
formally appoint and remove “Lifetime Beneficiaries.” A Lifetime Beneficiary is
only a beneficiary during your lifetime and is not entitled to receive assets at
death unless you designate them as a “Remainder Beneficiary” or assign them a
specific item on your Personal Property Memorandum.
Second, Section 3.01 also says “a[ny] person with whom I am engaging in a
firearms-related activity including but not limited to … shooting … may be a
[lifetime] beneficiary while so engaged and for that duration”. This is a fail-safe
measure for in consideration of times you are at a range or out somewhere and
someone wants to try out your firearm, for example. This language was added so
that you could hand someone your firearm while you (Trustee) are in a social
situation, allowing that person the color of law as a beneficiary… so the transfer
is not potentially considered a felonious transfer.
3. Specific Gifts
Your trust allows you to distribute your firearms by using a written memorandum.
The Personal Property Memorandum allows you to designate a beneficiary of a
specific item. A separate Personal Property Memorandum can be used to
designate your Remainder Beneficiaries upon your death.
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4. Avoid Probate for Your Firearms
This is a big deal in many states, and anywhere you might be concerned with
privacy. Your GunDocx Trust protects your firearms from going through the
probate process. If you have a will or if you have no estate planning documents
in place, your assets will be probated upon your death.
Probate is a judicial process that settles your estate and transfers your property to
your heirs. If your estate goes through probate, it will become public knowledge.
A trust protects the privacy of your estate and allows you to transfer your assets to
your friends and family without having to go through the court.
Probate is an expensive and confusing process. Additionally, when your estate is
being probated, it is subjected to the discretion of a superior court judge. The
judge has the ability to deviate from the instructions in your will. If you have no
will, inheriting decisions are left entirely up to the court. Your GunDocx Trust
will protect you from this process and ensure that your wishes are carried out
without judicial interference.
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