Why a Gun Trust?
The main reason why many gun owners consider a “gun trust” is to simplify the acquisition of certain federally regulated firearms. But as you will see below, this is ONLY the tip of the iceberg . . . and there are many more significant benefits to be gained.
First, the National Firearms Act (NFA) regulates the possession, use, and transfer of several different types of weapons. These weapons are commonly referred to as “Title II” weapons and include machine guns, short-barreled rifles and shotguns, suppressors, destructive devices, and Any Other Weapons (AOWs). Florida further restricts the possession and use of these weapons, unless they are properly owned and possessed under federal law.
Under the NFA there are two ways to acquire Title II weapons: individually or through an entity. To obtain these items as an individual, a person must submit fingerprints, a photograph, pay the $200 application fee (tax,) and obtain the signature of the Chief Law Enforcement Officer (CLEO) in the jurisdiction in which they reside. Despite Florida’s more favorable view towards the ownership of weapons by individuals, the CLEO signature can be difficult to obtain.
Even if an individual could obtain the CLEO signature, individual ownership is not the best way to own Title II weapons. Only the individual whose name the weapon is registered to will be entitled to use the items. Many firearms attorneys have argued that the ATF broadly defines the term “unauthorized transfer” and depending on the circumstances, a transfer may include handing a Title II weapon to a friend at the firing range or even allowing a spouse to have the combination of the safe where the Title II weapons are stored.
As a result of the drawbacks of individual ownership, combined with the CLEO non-participation in the application process, many gun owners have resorted to forming an entity to purchase and hold Title II weapons. There are several advantages to using an entity to purchase and hold NFA items:
• No CLEO signature is required; and,
• In contrast to individual ownership, multiple people may use the weapons.
The question then becomes which type of entity is best to hold Title II weapons. The answer is a Firearms Trust.
Corporations, LLC’s, and non-profit corporations can all be used to obtain Title II weapons. The drawback to these entities is that they all require fees with the state. You must pay an initial fee to form the entity and a yearly fee to maintain it. Also, entities require regular administrative documentation and maintenance. Further, these types of entities are designed to earn money . . . not to hold, share, and distribute assets.
In contrast, a trust does not require any fees with the state. Because trusts are primarily an estate-planning tool, they are designed to hold, share, and distribute assets. While it is true that a person could use a free trust provided by a gun shop (which likely satisfies the definition of “unauthorized practice of law”) or download one from a discount online source to obtain NFA weapons, these products do not protect a person’s family and friends adequately, as the trustees are granted powers which would allow them to commit felonies in many different situations.
Accordingly, a correctly prepared Firearms Trust is designed for a single purpose . . . owning, enjoying, and eventually distributing firearms, ammunition, and accessories. It is purpose-built and is NOT a warmed over conventional trust.
Typically, a firearms collection is the product of one spouse’s interest. The other spouse tolerates this interest, but does not care nearly as much about the items that have been accumulated. Due to death or disability, the disinterested spouse or other family member may be forced to manage or distribute the collection. Because of the vast amount of federal and state regulations pertaining to both NFA and non-NFA weapons, a disinterested spouse may make a mistake as to the applicable laws. A violation of the applicable laws usually results in the commission of a felony.
Because our firearms trust is designed with this scenario in mind, there are detailed instructions to guide a trustee in handling the assets as well as an overview of applicable laws and regulations.
Our firearms trust is also designed to allow for multiple users of the items held by the trust. This is in direct contrast to a standard or generic revocable living trust. Our trust specifically allows for any named trustee, successor trustee, and any named beneficiary to have the ability to use the trust assets. There is even a provision that will deem any person that you are shooting with a beneficiary of the trust. The trust also allows for the formal appointment of beneficiaries for a limited duration with a set expiration date. The designation of “automatic beneficiary” and a “limited duration beneficiary” have no rights for inheritance unless they are also listed as a “remainder beneficiary.”
Our Firearms Trust has many standard trust features such as avoiding the probate process for your firearms and the public record that it would create. There is also the ability to create and update a tangible personal property memorandum which grants different people specific items of a collection.
Why wait? With our online system, you can receive your customized, attorney-prepared Firearms Trust in less than 24 hours once we have received your payment. You will receive a complete Firearms Trust application package along with your completed Firearms Trust.
Additionally, as part of your purchase, you will be able to consult with the firm regarding the application process and questions about completing any form.
As a special bonus, if you decide to upgrade your NFA item trust into a more complete Firearms Trust, such as one that has property in multiple States, you will be able to apply today’s purchase price to that Firearms Trust.
At Yolofsky Law, we are here to be your family’s lawyer for life! The firm’s Managing Shareholder, A. J. Yolofsky, is a former Marine officer and firearms enthusiast. Mr. Yolofsky fully understands that firearms are an important part of your family’s legacy. Indeed, we regularly hear about how the love and respect of firearms are passed from parent to child. Preserve your firearms and give yourself peace of mind by obtaining your Firearms Trust today!