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Protect your beneficiaries with a gun trust

If you have any guns — be it for sport, self-defense or family memorabilia — it’s important that you take estate planning steps to minimize the legal complexities of transferring these assets.

By establishing living revocable gun trust, you can accelerate the transfer process and ensure your beneficiaries won’t face consequences for unintentionally violating the National Firearms Act.

What is a gun trust?

A gun trust is usually made by putting your gun collection exclusively into its own revocable living trust. This way, the assets are still within your control while you are alive (in contrast to an irrevocable trust).

You are the trustee and beneficiary of the gun trust until your passing. At that point, your collection would be distributed to beneficiaries per your instructions.

Instructions you leave can include conditions a beneficiary must meet in order to obtain the asset. You may change or revoke a revocable living trust at any time.

Why is a trust needed?

In some cases, the unlawful transfer or possession of firearms could result in felony charges.

Accidental violation of the National Fire Arms act could lead your beneficiaries to face:

  • Significant fines
  • Jail time
  • Seizure of gun(s)
  • Inability to possess or own firearms in the future

This can happen if firearms are brought into states that have different bans on certain weapons. Issues with the legality of the firearm or the criminal history of the trustee can also cause unintended problems.

A gun trust drafted by a knowledgeable attorney can include limitations for the trustee to prevent issues from happening. A lawyer can also help with other estate planning initiatives, such as reviewing your will and designating proper beneficiaries. 

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