A Gun Trust, NFA Trust, or Firearms Trust is a type of Trust designed to make it easier to acquire, possess and use firearms during your life and to dispose of them after your passing. Such Trusts are commonly used to own suppressors/silencers, machine guns, short-barreled rifles and short-barreled shotguns (NFA items) as they are subject to the strict legal regulations of the National Firearms Act of 1934 (NFA) and Title II of the Gun Control Act of 1968.
WHO NEEDS A GUN TRUST?
Anyone who intends on purchasing an NFA item (suppressor/silencer, machine gun, short-barreled rifle or short-barreled shotgun) should definitely set up a Gun Trust to own those firearms. There are numerous advantages to having your Trust own these items as opposed to owning them in your individual name.
HOW DOES A GUN TRUST WORK?
A Gun Trust is drafted by your attorney in advance of your purchase of an NFA item. Your Trust names Trustees (you being the main Trustee) that are allowed to use and possess your NFA firearms. It also provides detailed instructions as to what will happen to your firearms after your passing. Once your Trust is signed, you'll purchase your NFA items in the name of your Gun Trust and send a copy of the Trust to the ATF along with the other required paperwork. You do not need a separate Gun Trust for each NFA item you own. One Gun Trust can own as many firearms as you wish.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF CREATING A GUN TRUST AS OPPOSED TO SIMPLY ACQUIRING THE NFA ITEMS IN MY INDIVIDUAL NAME?
- It allows more than one person to possess and use any firearms owned by your Trust (provided they are not otherwise prohibited from doing so). This means that if family or friends are all named in the Trust, then they can all use and possess the NFA firearms owned by your Trust. If you acquire the NFA items in your individual name, no one can use or possess them outside of your presence.
- It gives you the flexibility to add and remove Trustees at any time, on your own, and without reporting the new Trustees to the ATF. E.g., if you'd like to allow someone to use your firearm, you can simply add them as a Trustee.
- It is set up to continue owning your firearms after your passing, thus avoiding some of the ATF transfer procedures. Because the firearms are not transferred immediately after your death, but remain owned by the Trust, the Trustees of the Trust still have access to them.
- It can pass your firearms to whomever you designate without going through the cumbersome Probate Court process.
- It may prevent surviving family members from inadvertently violating federal law by possessing your highly restricted NFA firearms after your passing.
- It may avoid future restrictions on gun transfers. E.g., if lawmakers ever make it illegal to transfer these firearms, a Gun Trust may get around this prohibition as there's no transfer being made after your death (the firearms remain titled in your Trust).
WHAT DOES A GUN TRUST NOT DO?
It does not allow you to possess any NFA items that are prohibited by your particular state's laws. E.g., if your state prohibits possessing a suppressor, a Gun Trust will not get around that prohibition.
WHY SHOULD I GO TO A PRIVATE ATTORNEY TO DRAFT MY GUN TRUST INSTEAD OF FINDING ONE ON THE INTERNET OR BUYING A COMPUTER-GENERATED ONE THROUGH A WEBSITE FOR A CHEAPER PRICE?
Gun Trusts are sophisticated legal documents. There is no comparison between the Gun Trusts that our office drafts and the prepackaged internet "one size fits all" form Trusts that you may find in various places. Yes, it is more expensive to have a customized Trust, but the old adage, "You get what you pay for" definitely applies to Gun Trusts. In addition:
- Our office will personalize and customize your Trust to meet your specific needs, and spend ample time reviewing your options and explaining the pros and cons of different choices and options. We will discuss who you trust to possess and use your firearms, who you wish to name as Trustees and what you want to happen to your firearms after you pass away.
- We will discuss the strategy of initially naming yourself as a sole Trustee and possibly adding others at a later date.
- As the law in each state is different, we will ensure that your Gun Trust meets your specific state's laws.
- You're getting the assurance that your Gun Trust is customized to your exact needs and that you're not assuming the risk of using a "one size fits all" form.
- You're building a relationship with a Second Amendment attorney and advocate who will be available for any questions that may arise as you use your Trust.
CAN ANY ATTORNEY DRAFT A GUN TRUST?
Yes and no. Any attorney licensed in your state can legally draft a Gun Trust for you, but only a handful of attorneys are familiar with the nuances of how to do it, let alone even what it is. A Gun Trust is very unique and different from an ordinary estate planning Trust. It must have very particular language in it for the ATF to approve it. As a result, you need an attorney who is fluent and familiar with this area of the law, not someone who is creating such a Trust for the first time.
WHY SHOULD I CHOOSE THE LAW OFFICE OF CHRISTOPHER P. COX, L.L.C. TO DRAFT MY GUN TRUST?
Chris Cox has been practicing law for more than 30 years, heads his own law office, is an avid and active firearms enthusiast, and a fierce advocate for Second Amendment rights. He is very familiar with Gun Trusts, their drafting, and the law surrounding their use and implementation. He sits down with every client to personally discuss and draft their Gun Trust, explains the process and how the Trust works, provides them with numerous options, listens to each client's unique needs and wishes, answers all of their questions, and only then, personally drafts and customizes their Gun Trust to meet those needs. Mr. Cox also provides the legal documentation necessary for his Gun Trust clients to add or delete Trustees in the future, and provides each with written "how to" instructions for using their Trust. He also makes himself available for any questions that may arise in the future.