Firearms are near and dear to the hearts of many Americans. They often use them as collectibles, going to gun shows to look at antiques and passing them down through family generations.
While they are commonplace in the lives of many, guns can complicate things after you pass. In fact, there are specific ways to address firearms in your estate plan to ensure that they are cared for as you want.
The difficulties of passing down firearms
When you pass a firearm down to a child, grandchild or friend, you will deal with two main federal regulations, the National Firearms Act (NFA) and the Gun Control Act of 1968. Essentially, these Acts require registration of weapons defined under the NFA with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). The ATF must approve and tax the transfer of such a firearm.
The transfer of a gun can be complicated for the executor of your estate and the beneficiary. If it is not executed in a timely and proper manner, your family could lose the firearm. There can also be issues that come up with the eligibility of beneficiaries to own a gun, which can also make the transfer difficult.
How a gun trust can help
While passing down firearms can be difficult, a gun trust can be helpful in making sure it stays where you want it. A gun trust establishes the ownership and transfer of a firearm. You, as the owner of the firearm, may create the trust alongside an attorney and name yourself as the trustee. This way, you will have authority over the trust and the firearms in it during your lifetime.
Then, name successor trustees who are legally eligible to own firearms to step in when you pass away. Finally, choose beneficiaries who are also legally eligible to own guns in the trust. Your attorney may be able to help you ensure that the trust is compliant with the NFA and Gun Control Act, and that all potential trustees and beneficiaries are legally able to own a gun.
Losing the valuable pieces of family history that may come with guns can be difficult. That’s why preparation within your estate plan is so important in preserving your legacy for your loved ones.