NONE OF THIS IS LEGAL ADVICE. THIS IS FOR GENERAL INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES.
Update: What about the Proposed Changes to the Gun Trust rules?
We wrote on that too, take a look at this page: Proposed Changes to the Gun Trust rules.
What kind of assurance can I get from going through a site like yours vs. going to an attorney in my area?
Our software doesn’t make typos or mistakes. We’ve set up thousands of gun trusts and not a single one has ever been rejected by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (“BATFE”).
Here is our back-story:
A law firm drafted a Gun Trust for a client, who is now the proud owner of a silencer. That firm later took the trust document they created for him, modified it and created a separate business, NFAFirearmsTrust.com. (Note: NFAFirearmsTrust.com is not a law firm and does not give legal advice.)
I can assure you that we have an awesome template for a trust. It has been through many rounds of revisions, and is what the firm would offer clients who came here in person.
However, if you want something custom, we cannot provide that and you should talk to a lawyer. If you want to have a sit down, face-to-face talk with an attorney, we cannot provide that and you should talk to a lawyer.
Honestly, since we do not give legal advice and only provide a form that you use at your direction, if you have any hesitation you should not buy our form (or any online form) and should instead talk to a lawyer.
Are your trusts state specific? I am in Michigan if that means anything.
No. There exists the Uniform Trust Code, which mosts states have either adopted or mimicked, making the laws mostly uniform across all states. Further, while there are minor differences in the states, we have created a lowest common dominator form. For one example, some states require witnesses to sign and some don’t. Regardless of what state you are in, our instructions provide that witnesses sign. That way, all states are covered, even though some are more than covered.
As far as adding trustee’s to my trust, or removing them if necessary, what is the process involved in that?
It is easy. We sell a “revocable trust.” One benefit of that is that the Grantor (you) can change the terms of the trust, including adding or removing trustees. We include a separate form for this so that you can do it on your own in the future without us as many times as you’d like.
Are documents provided to amend my trust or to add items to it?
Yes. The email we send now has three attachments. One is the trust, another is the instructions, and the third is a word document that can be used as a template for making changes to the trust.
Regarding adding items to the trust, there is no need to make a change to the trust to reflect that something has been added. To “prove” that you have been approved by the ATF to possess a silencer or other NFA item, you will have (a) the trust naming you as a trustee, and (b) the tax stamp where the ATF approved the transfer to the trust. I am aware that many people on gun forums think you should constantly update the “Schedule 1” to reflect a gun trust’s assets, but that is not necessary.
What do I do after I receive my gun trust from you?
Have all the trustees sign and notarize it before two independent witnesses.
Then go to a gun dealer and buy something awesome with your new Trust. It’s that easy.
More details here: http://nfafirearmstrust.com/2015/11/05/after-you-receive-your-gun-trust/
I know I need to sign the trust in front of a notary to finalize it, but do any of the trustees need to be there too?
Yes, they all do.
However, remember above where I said that our trust form meets all the state’s requirements by exceeding the requirements of some states? This is one of the examples of that. Not all States require witnesses, and not all States require all trustees’ signatures. However, since we sell this form in all 50 States, our instructions tell everyone to have all trustees sign and also get two witnesses. That way, they are covered, even if we exceed the minimum requirements in some states.
Having said that, (and if I haven’t totally confused you), you might not have to get all the trustees to sign nor have witnesses sign. You’ll have to figure out what Michigan (or your state) requires, and it may require less effort than what our instructions recommend. We exceed the minimum requirements for some states.
If for some reason there was a problem with the trust provided through your website, who would be liable in that instance?
You would be liable. This website is not a law firm, nor do we give legal advice. Our site simply sells a form, which is similar to buying a legal form book at a bookstore, except our “book” only has one form. It is up to you to determine how to use it and what information to put into it.
However, there likely will not be a problem with what is “provided.” More likely would be user error of some sort. (i.e. some states require the word “trust” in the name of the trust, but some don’t. Thus, if you were to live in one of those states and failed to put the word “trust” in the name of your trust, you might have a user generated problem.)
I’ve heard people prefer to use an attorney because of the fact that they would be the ones responsible if something were to go wrong. Is there any truth to this?
There are probably countless reasons why people prefer to use an attorney rather than do it themselves, even if assisted by quicken, legal zoom, or other self-help means. There is probably some truth to your statement, attorneys usually carry malpractice insurance.
However, even if you use an attorney, you are ultimately responsible. You may have a claim against an attorney who gave you bad advice, but you still have to personally deal with whatever consequences may exist.
Do you have any documentation that would help confirm the validity of your trust?
We offer a 30 day refund policy, (and I can extend that for you up to 55 total days if you request before the 30 days are up). That way, you can inspect it and see for yourself. Figure out what the requirements for a valid trust are in your state and then you’ll see them all met in what we provide you.
I haven’t found any documented cases of peoples trusts falling through and them getting a visit from the ATF or worse, but I can see how something like that could be theoretically possible under the right circumstances.
The reason you haven’t found any document cases of that is likely because there are none. I’ve also searched.
This goes for the past two questions as well: you have to remember that there are two things going on. 1) The formation of the trust and its validity. 2) The ATF approving the transfer of an item to the trust. In all the forums and conversations I’ve seen on the internet, it really seems like people forget about the first one and only care about the second one. Granted, in recent years, the ATF has started doing a cursory review to make sure they at least look valid before approving a transfer, but approval is still a separate issue.
There are a lot of scare tactics on the internet regarding invalid trusts. I’m sure you’ve also seen people claiming that if a trust has some minor flaw, then “poof” – it is gone and all trustees are committing felonies by owning the items without ATF approval. This is nonsense. A trust with an error doesn’t “poof” or vanish, it is simply defective. The defective trust still has been approved for the transfer of the item, so no one should or could get in trouble in that regard. Plus, defects can easily be cured.
Assuming the ATF approved a trust, the real problem with defective trusts would not come from the ATF:
For a minute, forget gun trusts. Imagine a “normal” trust whereby a parent puts $20,000.00 in a trust for his two children. The parent would be the Grantor, the children would be the Beneficiaries, and some friend would be the Trustee. Lets say the trust is set up such that the Friend is supposed to hold the money until both children turn 18.
The only time a validity problem would even arise is if someone challenged it. That is due to the adversarial nature of our legal system. (Another reason I struggle with your previous question about validity- there wouldn’t be any validity documentation until the trust was challenged in court.) For example, if a creditor wanted to get the $50,000 from the parent, who has since filed bankruptcy, he might argue that the trust is defective, and the parent really owns the 20K, and thus should have to pay.
Basically, I want to make sure that if I am putting my trust (no pun intended) into your site to give me a valid legal document that can be used and amended throughout the course of my life, I want to make sure its the right move. It’s obviously priced right, but that does me no good if I have to move my NFA items from one trust to another and re-pay the tax on each item. One stamp and the cost of your trust equal a custom written trust from an attorney.
I agree, and would have the same concerns if I were you. The thing to remember is that ours is not custom at all. We provide the same high-quality trust to everyone. If you want something custom then you really should just pony up the cash and go to a lawyer. (However, read this first.)
We can provide you with a .doc (Microsoft Word) copy of it, if you want, so that you can make whatever changes you want over the course of your life, or even take it to an attorney later on. We just don’t normally include that in the initial email for fear of piracy.
Even if a problem arises down the road, you could simply fix it by amending the trust. You wouldn’t need to transfer everything from one trust to another.
I’ve been to your site many times and have almost gone through with it a few times before, but I just haven’t found what I’ve been looking for to instill that confidence that what you are offering is solid enough to guarantee that I won’t have any problems down the road. Persuade me perhaps?
Hopefully I’ve done this with this reply to your questions.
Please let me know if you have any other questions. You can call us too. The number is in the footer.