What is a Gun Trust?
What is a gun trust? It’s a purpose-built revocable living trust (just like your family trust) that is primarily used to acquire and share use of firearms regulated by the National Firearms Act (NFA), such as suppressors (silencers), short-barrel rifles, short-barrel shotguns and even machine guns manufactured prior to 1986. It’s set up a little differently, however, and those differences can be very important.
A gun trust allows you to permit others to legally possess NFA weapons registered to the trust outside of your presence by appointing those persons as a trustee, whereas such weapons can only be used by others in your presence if they are registered to you as an individual.
While that is its primary purpose and benefit, there are other extremely valuable reasons to use a gun trust to own and manage your firearms. A gun trust will ensure that no probate is necessary to transfer your weapons after your death (especially NFA weapons). And we believe one of the best benefits of a gun trust is to provide a comprehensive management system for your firearms to ensure that your successors know how to legally administer them in your absence.
How to Establish a Gun Trust
We offer three different trust levels. You can download the intake forms for each below. Just fill out the form for your level, save it to your computer and either email it to us (email address on intake form) or drag and drop it into the box at the bottom of the page.
Bronze ($250) – Manages only your NFA weapons, terminates upon your death and transfers to remainder beneficiaries, facilitates only short-term possession of NFA weapons by others;
Silver ($600) – Manages all firearms (what non-NFA items you own are never identified), continues over the lifetime of a spouse (eliminating one round of potential ATF transfers) then distributes out to remainder beneficiaries, facilitates long-term or short-term possession of NFA weapons by others, enables gifting of any specific firearms to specific individuals;
Gold (Dynasty Trust – $1,200, but can vary depending on additional complexity, i.e.: asset protection planning or charitable gift planning) – Manages all firearms (what non-NFA items you own are never identified), dynasty trust eliminates future ATF transfers of NFA weapons and keeps your firearms collection together for descendants to share for up to 1,000 years, facilitates long-term or short-term possession of NFA weapons by others, enables gifting of any specific firearms to specific individuals, provides guidelines for proper multi-state NFA firearms ownership, contains Trust Protector provisions, includes Special and Limited Power of Attorney for firearms.
With each level, our goal is to make sure that you understand what you’ve created, how you will use it and to familiarize you with the NFA application process, then to continue to be your resource for any questions you may have in the future.
There are numerous options available to create a gun trust, but where the penalties for doing something wrong with firearms can result in 10 years in prison and even $250,000 in fines, we believe there is far greater value in providing that thorough roadmap for administering firearms in the estate to your family or other successors than in saving a dollar or two in postage when mailing your 4-page trust copy to the ATF with an application for an NFA weapon5