Firearms and Estate Planning

When participating in estate planning, many people focus solely on large assets like real estate or retirement accounts. This often means that people end up downplaying the value of personal property planning. People who make this mistake often overlook the point that personal items can have a value that far surpasses anything measured by monetary value. As a result, everyone should spend adequate time planning for personal assets. Certain items require special focus. Firearms are one of these unique items. Making matters even more complex, firearms are one of the unique items of personal value that carry a distinct risk of danger including liability for accidents that might result. As a result, a person should be cautious but deliberate when it comes to estate planning and firearms. 

Be Careful to Whom You Give a Firearm

A personal representative or trustee is the individual that you select to function in a fiduciary role or administer your estate in reflection of your wishes. Transferring your favorite firearm to a relative can end up being a complex issue if the person is a prohibited individual. The Gun Control Act of 1968 made it against the law for certain types of individuals to not just ship but also receive, transport, or possess firearms. Some categories of individuals prohibited by the Act include individuals who have been convicted of felonies, users of illicit drugs, people with mental illnesses, and people who have been convicted of domestic violence. Simply transferring a firearm to a prohibited individual can create a wide range of complex issues. 

Geography Plays a Critical Role in Property Transfers

Another potential challenge facing your loved one is simple geography. The Gun Control Act of 1968 prohibited the movement of firearms between states. A fiduciary must utilize the services of a firearm holder to facilitate transferring a firearm if the recipient lives in a different state. Additionally, the United States has become a location of wide-ranging state laws addressing firearm transfers. As a result, the legal handling of a firearm in one state might be classified as illegal in another. 

Changing Laws Can Have an Impact

Changes over time can end up working against fiduciaries and future owners. What is legal today might be illegal in the future, but this process rarely works oppositely.

The widespread use of online shopping and the customizable nature of firearms has also resulted in increased risks associated with transferring firearms. For example, an acceptable firearm can become a highly restricted weapon following the National Firearms Act of 1934 with the introduction of a plastic “bump stock”.

Engage in Adequate Firearm Planning Today

The advantages, as well as the shortcomings introduced by the qualities of firearms, can be adequately addressed through sufficient planning. For certain times like machine guns and short barrel rifles, you should give great consideration to utilizing a gun trust. Items of this kind can often be of great value. A registered firearm can be greater than $23,000 in value so care must be taken to preserve the firearm’s value. Gun trusts have been widened to include collectible firearms in an attempt to preserve use and access.

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