Estate planning has the potential to be more complicated than people realize when there are complicated assets involved. However, you might not know that you have complicated assets if you have not discussed your estate planning needs and goals with an attorney.
For instance, if you have certain firearms that you want to pass on to family members or friends, then you need to take steps to specifically address this transfer. It would not be wise to assume they will be transferred like any other asset. If you do make this assumption, your loved ones could face some serious consequences like fines, criminal charges and asset seizure.
Why certain firearms are unlike other assets
You cannot just give a gun to someone else without clearing considerable legal red tape, even if that person is your brother, best friend, parent or child. As noted in this article, there are very strict and specific state and federal regulations that govern gun ownership, disposal and transfer.
How a gun trust can help
To legally transfer ownership of a firearm upon death, you can create a gun trust. Creating a trust requires you to name a trustee, which may be yourself or someone else, who will manage the lawful transfer of ownership of your firearms. This person will have the power and responsibility to fill out transfer forms, reimburse the costs of transfer and ensure the beneficiary is eligible and able to own the firearm.
What to consider when creating a gun trust
Once you decide to create a trust to transfer ownership of your firearms, then you need to make some other decisions that can apply to various other types of trusts as well. Do you want a revocable or irrevocable trust? Who are your trustees going to be? Who are the beneficiaries? Are these parties able (and legally eligible to) fulfill these roles?
Whether you own a single gun or several firearms, it is crucial that you address this type of transfer in your estate plan. Having the guidance of an attorney experienced in preparing gun trusts can help you protect your firearms, your wishes and your loved ones.