So if we took a poll of all your gun owner friends and asked them two simple questions, what do you think would be their answer?
- Do you know what a Gun Trust is?
- If you answered YES to question #1, do you know what it should do for you?
Try it out…I would love to hear your feedback on the response from your gun owner friends. You may be shocked by the low number of “YESes” to the first question. While Gun Trusts are something relatively new in the past few years they have also been sold as a commodity in different places, such as gun shops, which hasn’t given them much credibility. But they are legal documents and something you should put some effort in if you want it to do what you need it to do. Speaking of that…let me share with you some things a Gun Trust should do so you can better understand what makes one really work.
- To start, it should be a valid state law trust since the ATF relies on this to determine if it is valid or not.
- It should be written in a way to allow the sharing of firearms while you are alive without violating possession and transfer laws.
- It should provide easy to understand language and give guidance to those who may be executing your will/estate plan that are not well versed in firearms and guns.
- It should give you or your heirs control over a very specific type of personal property that is valuable to you from either an emotional and/or economic perspective.
- It should provide clear administrative direction to help trustees and beneficiaries acquire, possess, and transfer firearms (whether NFA or not) within the law…helping your heirs avoid what is sometimes termed an “Accidental Felony.”
- It should greatly simplify the process of transferring a firearm, whether it be buying, selling, loaning, or leasing to others, specifically discussing NFA firearms.
These are some of the key elements you should have in a Gun Trust. Unfortunately, many of the ones I get to review which were previously written (usually by a non-attorney or an attorney that doesn’t specialize in gun law) don’t contain most of these elements. They might contain one or two but are lacking in some of the most important ones that I feel are the core reasons for having a Gun Trust.
If you have one, I would be happy to review it for you and give you some feedback. If you don’t have one, hopefully this has given you some points to think about before you have one put together. If you are going to go through the process of creating one, you might as well get it right the first time and include what makes the trust work for you. It’s just great to know we have a specific instrument available today that we haven’t had in the past to really protect the gun owner and their families. I hope this helps…