Thursday, January 15, 2015
For clients who have a collection of firearms, they can bring them into their estate plan and ensure they go to the right beneficiaries via a gun trust. “For the same reason we don’t want to probate a house, we don’t want to go through that with firearms. You want a mechanism where, if the person [owning the guns] loses capacity, someone can secure the assets, make sure they’re safe and make sure they go where people would want them to go.”
Although gun trusts can ease the process of obtaining certain federally regulated firearms, gun trusts address the issue of possession and transfer of firearms between individuals. Thus, a problem could occur when a gun enthusiast passes away, and his or her spouse who is not a gun enthusiast will need to know what to do with the guns and could incur an accidental felony in the event of an improper transfer.
There are two ways for advisers to proceed when addressing firearms in an estate. First, they can build a gun trust when they want to carve the firearms out of the estate. This makes the most sense when one spouse is an enthusiast and the other spouse would not know what to do with the guns. Second, a client can elect to keep the guns in a trust along with everything else if he or she is endowing everything to the same individual.
See Darla Mercado, Bullseye: How Gun Trusts Can Hit the Mark With Clients’ Estate Planning, Investment News, Jan. 14, 2015.
Special thanks to Jim Hillhouse (Professional Legal Marketing (PLM, Inc.)) for bringing this article to my attention.