A trust can be designed to hold any, or all, of a person’s assets. If guns are among those assets, they too may find their way into a trust. But guns are unique among possessions, and they may require special treatment. First, planning must account for the slew of state and federal laws regulating guns, their ownership, and their transfer. Second, owners must carefully consider the individuals to whom they want to pass such items – are those individuals accountable? Will they ensure that the guns are kept safely and passed down responsibly?
A recent article in The New York Times discussed Gun Trusts, revocable trusts specifically designed to deal with guns. Gun Trusts name the gun owner as both the trustee and the beneficiary, and as with many other revocable trusts, give the owner the opportunity to name subsequent trustees and beneficiaries.
The benefit of the trust is twofold: First, it is designed in accordance with state and federal gun laws and gives an owner the opportunity to specifically plan for his or her guns. Second, trusts are currently exempt from certain gun-related federal procedures. For example, under the National Firearms Act, selected firearms can only be transferred after obtaining the signature of a local Chief Law Enforcement Officer. As it currently stands, Trusts need not receive such approval, which may be useful if officers refuse, as a general rule, to provide their signature.
Guns are a hot topic, but no matter where you stand on the issue, planning for them is the responsible choice. Furthermore, knowledge about the laws is crucial, so that you and your family comply. Contact us for more information.
– Gary Altman, Esq. and Coryn Rosenstock