Why You Should Set Up a Gun Trust
You need a gun trust if you own or are considering purchasing National Firearm Act (NFA) items, or if you have a large or valuable collection of firearms. A gun trust is the generic name for a revocable or irrevocable trust that allows for firearms to be used and enjoyed by multiple beneficiaries, even after the death of the grantor. Because firearms—and especially NFA firearms—are highly regulated, the improper possession or transfer of these items can have significant criminal consequences in addition to the confiscation and destruction of your valuable property. A trust provides the maximum protection for you, your family, and your heirs. The attorneys at Berry Law have first-hand experience and the in-depth knowledge necessary to ensure that your gun trust is implemented and overseen properly. This provides both piece of mind and ample protection.
In addition to providing you and your loved ones with protection from criminal law, gun trusts have other benefits, including confidentiality, asset protection, protection when capacitated, and cost savings.
Upon death, most states require an estate to file an inventory of the assets of the estate. These inventories are public documents filed with the court and are available for anyone to see. All firearms included in an estate would be listed on the inventory, along with the market value of each item. A public document on file in the courthouse with a list of all firearms owned, as well as the value of each, may not be the best outcome for you or your heirs. If the firearms are owned by a trust, the firearms are not included in the estate and will not be listed on the inventory.
Firearms can have significant value. By placing them in a trust, you can protect the value of your investment—ensuring they are maintained and enjoyed by your beneficiaries for generations. Further, if it becomes appropriate or necessary to liquidate some or all of the firearms, a trust will ensure they are transferred legally and in ways that maximize their value for your heirs. One fear many firearm owners have is that the value of their firearms will not be realized by family and friends. A trust helps to protect against this. It also provides protection against persons who might not share your appreciation of firearms by preventing the disposal of them in ways that would not be consistent with your wishes. Trusts provide flexible ways for your property to be treated with the care and appreciation you intend.
Protection when Incapacitated
If you become incapacitated, you do not need to be concerned with how your firearm collection will be treated. The trust will continue to protect your firearms and ensure they are available for the use and enjoyment of your beneficiaries. Further, the trust will provide the maximum protection from the risk that a prohibited person may take possession of your firearms or that they are otherwise unlawfully transferred during your incapacitation. This protects your family and beneficiaries from becoming accidental felons. It also protects the property from being seized or destroyed by the government. If the firearms are placed into a trust, the successor trustee would take control and make sure the firearms are enjoyed, held or distributed based on the guidance of the grantor’s intentions as outlined in the trust document.
The cost to create and administer a gun trust is surprisingly small, especially compared with the potential negative consequences of running afoul of the complex laws surrounding the use and ownership of firearms. This is especially true for NFA firearms. Leaving a large collection of Title I weapons, or even a single Title II weapon, in an estate to be dealt with by an executor or personal representative can be disastrous—but avoidable with the use of a gun trust. Generally, you can have your own custom gun trust for less than the cost of a quality polymer pistol.
Experienced Firearms Attorneys
Berry Law is dedicated to protecting the Constitutional rights of all clients, including your Second Amendment right to bear arms. If you need assistance setting up a gun trust or need legal help related to firearm ownership, Berry Law can help. Contact a Nebraska gun trust attorney at Berry Law today to schedule a consultation.