What is a “Gun Trust”?
☞ A Gun Trust is a purpose-built trust designed and specifically intended to hold firearms/guns or any other authorized /lawful weapons. Gun Trusts are legal ways to hold firearms/guns or any other authorized /lawful weapons. These trusts provide means for the lawful disposition, ownership, possession and/or transfer of the lawfully owned and possessed weapons and/or accessories to proper qualified successor trustees and/or proper qualified beneficiaries.
☞ Such trusts may provide appropriate instructions to trustees to prohibit and/or restrict transfers to (e.g. minors, felons, incompetents, etc.) persons not lawfully entitled to own and/or possess such weapons and/or accessories, so as to avoid committing illegal transfers.
☞ Such trusts may avoid probate by providing appropriate instructions for the effective legacy disposition of lawfully owned weapons and/or accessories to those of one’s intended beneficiaries – possibly for generations.
☞ Such trusts may avoid other legal proceedings (e.g. conservatorship) by providing appropriate instructions for lawful disposition, ownership, possession and/or transfer of the lawfully owned and possessed weapons and/or accessories – to successor trustees and/or beneficiaries.
Why would I need a “Gun Trust”?
Consider these issues:
☞ Do you own one or more guns/ firearms/any other weapons?
☞ Would you like to gift or otherwise transfer your firearms/guns, other weapons to your heirs, friends, etc.?
☞ What are the myriad of confusing – often conflicting – California and/or U.S. Federal laws, and/or regulations that govern the ownership and/or transfer of firearms?
☞ What about: all the questions that have to be answered under penalty of perjury in order to effect the transfer of firearms?
What Types of Weapons are Gun Trusts Used for?
☞ “Typically” gun trusts are used for weapons federally regulated pursuant to the National Firearms Act of 1934 (“NFA”), Title II of the Gun Control Act (“GCA”), Firearm Owners Protection Act – as well as California (and other states’) law.
☞ However, since there are only a few NFA/Title II defined firearms (e.g. “AOW” [Any Other Weapons]) that may be possessed in California, and given the many California restrictions controlling the ownership and/or transfer of firearms and other weapons, a gun trust can facilitate the ownership and/or transfer of firearms and other weapons, may keep the owner out of Probate Court having to seek authority to transfer the subject firearms and/or other weapons, and/or to keep the owner and/or transferee of the firearms/weapons out of Criminal Court defending themselves against criminal charges incidental to such an illegal/unlawful transfer.
How Do I Create My Gun Trust?
☞ Can’t I do it myself with an “online” or over the counter form I can get at the gun shop?
☞ Why not use a prepaid legal form?
☞☞ Consider this:
You might be able to create your gun trust (other legal document/s) yourself, however, just as with any other legal document/s that you are not trained nor qualified to prepare, you do so at your own peril.
Advice for people wanting to save money drafting their own legal documents:
There was this woman who paid to download a living trust form in order to be sure her son could have access to her owned assets at the time of her death and to avoid probate ....so, she named her son as “Successor Trustee” ....not as a beneficiary. [From the evidence she presented, clearly, she did not understand the basics of estate planning]. About this woman’s case, Judge David Ezra stated, “This case is a poster child for the proposition that one should not rely on prepaid legal forms with boilerplate language for important legal matters. Had (she) passed away, it is clear to the Court that the document would not have accomplished what she hoped; indeed, all of the (adverse) tax consequences she hoped to avoid would have been visited upon her son. It is also clear that a properly drafted trust prepared by a competent lawyer would have accomplished the goal(s) she sought in the first instance.” In re Vazquez (2013) U.S.D.C. W.D. Texas, San Antonio Div. 2013 WL 1309441.
Can’t I just use any (Irrevocable or Revocable) Living Trust to place my firearms/guns into?
☞ A non-firearms/guns trust (i.e. any Irrevocable or Revocable Living Trust) is not a purpose-built trust designed and specifically intended to hold firearms/guns or any other authorized /lawful weapons. A properly prepared Gun trust may provide for lawful ownership, possession and/or transfer of certain NFA/Title II weapons and/or accessories; but also for the lawful transfer and thus ownership and/or possession, of certain California non-NFA/non-Title II weapons and/or accessories. Properly drafted, such trusts may provide proper instructions to trustees for handling the lawful disposition, ownership, possession and/or transfer of the lawfully owned and possessed weapons and/or accessories – to successor trustees and/or beneficiaries.
Can’t I just use a Nolo living trust form to make my “Gun Trust”?
☞ Nolo.com says this about that:
“Answer: No. If you want to create a gun trust, get personalized legal advice from an expert on gun laws. Nolo living trusts are designed for the people who simply want to pass on their assets while avoiding probate. Gun trusts are complicated because they:
– may need to last for more than one generation
– may have multiple trustees, and
– must address both state and federal weapons laws. [bold/underlined emphasis mine]
“Nolo’s living trusts do not address these issues, and so you should not use Nolo living trusts to transfer weapons. If you want to make a gun trust, get help from a lawyer who has ... experience with these trusts and state and federal weapons laws.” [bold/underlined emphasis mine]