Firearms and Firearm Trusts
Many, many clients and prospective clients own firearms. Whether you consider the private ownership of firearms to be good or not, the fact remains that firearms have substantial value and cannot be overlooked when discussing a client’s estate plan. Firearms owners, by and large, are particular about their privacy when it comes to guns. Unfortunately, many attorneys do not ever inquire of their clients about firearm ownership and increase the chances that valuable legacy assets will be lost or clients’ families may be subjected to substantial criminal liability related to the unlawful transfer or possession of firearms.
The firearms industry is one of the most regulated commercial activities in the country. Federal, state and local laws and ordinances provide significant traps for the unwary when dealing with the purchase, sale, possession and transfer of firearms. Knowledgeable counsel on the manner in which firearms can be possessed and transferred, both during life and upon death, is essential in order to avoid drastic criminal penalties.
Our firm has assisted clients in developing comprehensive plans and options for the ownership, possession and disposition of all types of firearms, including firearms governed by the National Firearms Act (NFA). Gun trusts are one method of ownership available to clients who are interested in acquiring and possessing NFA firearms. This method of ownership allows for the lawful possession and control of NFA firearms while maintaining the inherent privacy associate with a living trust. Techniques for further limiting the amount of information that is necessary to disclose when acquiring or transferring NFA firearms are frequently employed to maintain a client’s privacy concerning firearms.