What Can I Do With a Gun Trust?

NFA weapons are machine guns, sound suppressors (a.k.a. silencers), short-barreled shotguns, short-barreled rifles, destructive devices and “any other weapons.”

Non-NFA (or GCA) weapons are all firearms and weapons that are not NFA weapons.

Avoid Probate and Publicity About Your Firearms
A gun trust protects your firearms from going through the probate process, a court proceeding to administer a deceased person’s assets. If you have a will or if you have no estate planning documents in place, a probate may result. Remember, probate can make your guns and other assets publicly available, so you may want to use a gun trust to bypass it. A gun trust helps you to pass on your firearms to those you want to have and enjoy them.

Protect, Preserve and Pass On Your Firearms Legacy
Legacy planning starts with planning for your own needs first. Then you plan for the needs of others. In this way you can effectively make a difference. We help others best when we are on a solid personal footing.

It is clear that firearms are an important part of your life. A gun trust is a written plan to help you and those you care about to lawfully enjoy your firearms during your lifetime. Upon your death, the memories you created can be passed on, honored, and continued by those you select to receive your firearms.

Seven out of 10 Americans have no estate plan for their assets, and a gun trust is one piece of a greater whole. Planning for your firearms is a way to protect, preserve and pass on something that is important to you. But remember, if you have no estate plan for other assets, or if you have a will-based plan, a public probate is likely to occur. Probate can make private information public.

If you have done your estate planning, congratulations! If not, let this effort serve to motivate you to intentionally plan for and share what you have built up over your lifetime. Contact us at (928) 783-4575 to make your appointment with our attorneys, Shawn D. Garner and Adam D. Hansen, and get started on making your gun trust in Yuma, Arizona.

Lawfully “Share” Your Firearms
Generally, a gun trust is a superior way to acquire and possess firearms and accessories and to share them with some protection against commission of an “accidental felony.” In other words, an unlawful transfer made resulting in unlawful possession and transfer of a firearm when you and the other person truly believed you were acting lawfully.

Why is a gun trust so useful? You can document why somebody other than you is in possession of your firearm. Both federal and state law can make it criminal for another person to possess your firearm. Title I firearms have different requirements than Title II firearms, and each state may also have its own requirements.

Several states are prime examples of transfer laws that can be surprising to gun owners, such as Washington, Oregon and Colorado. These and other states impose criminal penalties for the transfer of a firearm between persons absent a background check or a statutory exclusion or exception.

Make Specific Gifts of Firearms to Individuals
A gun trust allows you to distribute your firearms by using a written memorandum. The Firearms and Accessories Memorandum (a customized personal property memorandum) allows you to designate a beneficiary of a specific firearm or accessory.

Acquiring and Possessing Rifles, Pistols and Shotgun (Non-NFA or GCA) Firearms
A trust is not a person under Title I of the Gun Control Act, so no background check can be performed at an FFL for a direct purchase by a trust or trustee. This is different than for an NFA firearm under Title II. However, a trust can acquire non-NFA firearms directly from a private party if no FFL or background check is required and it can possess firearms lawfully transferred to it with an assignment or bill of sale.

Acquiring and Possessing NFA Items
Prior to July 13, 2016, using a trust expedited the process for purchasing NFA firearms like silencers (suppressors). However, the Obama Administration changed the rules regarding gun trusts on July 13, 2016 which made gun trusts subject to many of the same requirements as purchasing NFA firearms as an individual. Federal law now requires each “Responsible Person” to provide documentation when filing an application to receive (Form 4) an NFA Firearm. First, this requires the Grantor/Settlor of a gun trust, each serving Trustee, and anyone having certain power or authority over the Gun trust and Trust property to provide a Chief Law Enforcement Officer (CLEO) notification first. Second, the full application is submitted to NFA Branch and a background check is done prior to processing your application.

BATFE Forms Processing

In accordance with the ATF Final Rule 41F which was effective July 13, 2016, the Chief Law Enforcement Officer (CLEO) certification is no longer required on following Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (BATFE):

ATF Form 1 (5320.1): Application to Make and Register a Firearm

ATF Form 4 (5320.4): Application for Tax Paid Transfer and Registration of a Firearm

ATF Form 5 (5320.5): Application for Tax Exempt Transfer and Registration of Firearm

Final Rule 41F replaces the CLEO certification with CLEO notification which requires that a completed copy of the Form 1, Form 4 and Form 5 applications, and the specified form for responsible persons (Form 5320.23), be forwarded to the CLEO of the locality in which the applicant/transferee or responsible person resides.

Yuma County CLEO Delivery and Mailing Address
Completed CLEO (Chief Law Enforcement Officer) copies for all of the above listed forms may be delivered or mailed to the following address:

Yuma County Sheriff’s Office
Attn: Sheriff Leon N. Wilmot
141 S. 3rd Avenue
Yuma AZ 85364

Where Do I Start?

Watch Our Seminar

Are you unsure where to start with your estate planning? Watch our seminar video to get an overview of estate planning and receive a $200 credit at Deason Garner & Hansen Law Firm. Then give us a call and make an appointment with our attorneys in Yuma, Arizona, Shawn D. Garner or Adam D. Hansen, to get started!

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