One of the main reasons my clients want to establish a solid trust based estate plan is to avoid probate. Probate can be expensive, take many months to years to complete, and end up disclosing your estate assets in the public record. Let me share with you a story that might “light a fire” under you if you haven’t already created a Gun Trust for your firearms.
I’ve changed the names to protect the people in the story but their situation isn’t unlike that of many others…maybe even you!
George and Sylvia had an estate plan in place and thought everything was in perfect order. You see, they were both getting along in age and as such wanted to make sure everything was in order so their loved ones wouldn’t be burdened by the distribution of their assets upon their passing. George owned his own business and was quite successful. Because of this, they had acquired a large number of assets…including a very nice gun collection he enjoyed since he was a young man.
While he didn’t shoot a lot, he enjoyed telling stories about his firearms. He could tell you why he bought it, where it got it from, the particular meaning it had to him, and how it fit into his collection. It was his pride and joy…not from the ownership of the firearms but because of the stories each one represented in his life.
He wanted these stories to continue to live through is heirs and loved ones so they could tell their kids about how these were collected and why they meant so much to grandpa. But one thing was for certain, some of these had some real value beyond just their purpose as a firearm. The question loomed…how much were they worth in the open market? He didn’t get constant appraisals since his intent was not to sell them but to enjoy them and pass them along.
But this is where George and Sylvia had a problem…the firearms aren’t treated as “just another asset” that can be distributed according to his well-designed estate plan. They don’t just get distributed like the jewelry, the cars, and the house…they are in a special category. George didn’t understand this initially…until he learned about a Gun Trust. He had heard of them but never really understood what they did or why he would need them. He had heard lots of rumors but nothing completely accurate.
When George learned about how the Gun Trust is a special trust designed specifically for the distribution of firearms upon someone’s death, he immediately became interested…especially when he realized they may end up going through a probate process. With a collection like his, there was no easy way to identify their value without spending a lot of time and money…unless he specifically put them into a Gun Trust. Then they could pass on to his heirs without going through a long and arduous probate process…something he was trying to avoid with his estate plan.
Once he had one in place, now he could finally realize the “peace of mind” he was seeking in this entire process…minimal effort to distribute ALL his assets to his loved ones. Had George not added this special interest Gun Trust to his estate plan, his assets would have most likely ended up in probate and his heirs would have had to spend a great deal of time and money to keep them in the family. Not what he would have wanted and not what his loved ones would have enjoyed. They probably wouldn’t have appreciated the incredible collection he had amassed if they were spending and exorbitant amount of time getting his gun collection through the probate process.
This is just one example of why it’s so important to include a Gun Trust in your Estate Planning process. You might not have the exotic collection George had but even one firearm can create havoc for those who have to deal with a Probate process. After all, one of the key benefits of Estate Planning is to make the distribution of assets easy and painless and avoid Probate if at all possible. Adding a Gun Trust can significantly help achieve this goal.
If you haven’t heard of a Gun Trust or you don’t know much about them, just shoot me a message and I will be happy to give you some information to help you better understand what this special purpose trust can do for you and your family. It’s just one more way you can…Be Prepared. Be Smart. Be Safe.