When you visit an attorney to make an estate plan, the first thing you’ll do is discuss your assets and how you would like those passed to loved ones. A common asset many people in Minnesota have is firearms, often many very high quality weapons. In these situations, we may recommend a gun trust.
The National Firearms Act (NFA) regulates the possession, use, and transfer of “Title I” weapons, which includes handguns, long-barreled riffles, and other traditional hunting firearms and “Title II” weapons, which includes shotguns, short-barreled rifles, machine guns, as well as silencers and many other types of weapons. Placing your firearms into a gun trust makes it both easier for you to acquire guns (a plus for any gun enthusiast) as well as to distribute them in the future.
Creating a gun trust allows you to pass guns without meeting some of the onerous requirements associated with direct transfers to individuals under the NFA. While transferring the guns through the trust can eliminate certain requirements for information, you cannot transfer a firearm that state law will not permit you to possess, nor can you transfer a gun to an individual who is prohibited from acquiring firearms. A gun trust is not required to supply fingerprints, photographs, or background checks. A Gun Trust can also remove many of the headaches of acquiring suppressors and other weapons the sheriff (Chief Law Enforcement Officer) may be less willing to sign off on.
It also allows multiple people to use firearms without having to go through multiple transfers of possession. These regulations are, of course, subject to change and it is possible that fingerprints will be required in the future.
In Minnesota, someone who is under the age of 18 (with some exceptions), who has been convicted of a violent crime, or who has been committed as mentally ill or for chemical dependence, or who has been convicted of domestic violence cannot own a firearm.
With these considerations, a gun trust is still an excellent vehicle to allow owners to share their firearms with others and to pass them down in a responsible and protected manner.
Setting up a gun trust should be part of your estate plan too, but you can do it separately without considering your entire estate. It may sound like a great way to acquire new toys without a lot of hassle, but you want to make sure it’s done properly, doesn’t create conflicts with your other assets, and that you keep it up to date as laws change.
Bring in the expert advice of the team at Virtus Law Firm to help you set up your gun trust and review your estate plans. Together we can ensure you’re prepared to have fun now and your loved ones will be able to get the guns you want to give them. Call us today at 612.888.1000 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org set up a consultation.