One of our customers sent me an article styled “The Truth About Gun Trusts – and How Attorneys Lie to Get your Money” by FirearmConcierge, dated January 26, 2014. In a somewhat long-winded rant, FirearmConcierge is funny and made some good points.
But, he also missed the most important reasons why you should consider an NFA Firearms Trust.
It is absolutely right that it can be a big waste of money to pay any attorney to custom draft a NFA Firearms Trust. First of all, as FC points out, hardly any attorneys specialize in “gun law.” Second, while form trust documents have been around for years, a good NFA Firearms Trust is not just some form that a lawyer copies out of a book. A compliant NFA Firearms Trust has to have special provisions to ensure compliance with the National Firearms Act of 1934. For example, if the Grantor, the person creating the Trust, names a Trustee or Beneficiary who is legally disqualified from owning or possessing the device, then that person needs to be automatically removed. For example, if someone is convicted of a felony, or becomes addicted to narcotics, or losses mental competency, or becomes insane, then they can not possess any firearms. The forms in most lawyers’ offices would not address or resolve such issues.
By comparison, NFAFirearmsTrust.com has an excellent, carefully drafted, fully compliant NFA Gun Trust that is every bit as good as anything any lawyer could draft, and at a fraction of the price. This is what we do. This is what we’ve been doing for years. We do it quick and perfectly. Our software doesn’t make typos or mistakes. We’ve set up thousands of gun trusts and not one has ever been rejected by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (“BATFE).”
Pay a lawyer to plan your estate, not to learn something we’ve already mastered.
Back to FC’s article. While its true that no Gun Trust will “keep you out of jail” and that no state requires it, a good NFA Firearms Trust provides many important protections, conveniences, and benefits. A gun trust solves some serious practical problems.
First, as FC points out, a good NFA Firearms Trust eliminates the need for you to obtain approval from your Chief Law Enforcement Officer (“CLEO”). While some may know their local sherrif on a first-name basis, CLEO approval in a big city can be a significant delay or impossible. Many CLEOs have standing policy that they never sign off on such forms, no matter the applicant. A gun trust eliminates this requirement, allowing you to bypass a difficult CLEO completely.
Second, a good NFA Trust also eliminates the need for fingerprints and photographs. So, if you value your privacy, a NFA Firearms Trust may be for you.
Third, with a NFA Firearms Trust you are able to effectively “share” firearms with people you trust by making them Trustees and providing in the document that they have the right to possess and use the specified devise. Otherwise, the sole registered owner needs to be present any time someone is using or even just examining the firearm. As FC’s letter from the ATF points out, without a trust, your federally-regulated firearm must remain in your possession, meaning within your sight. With a gun trust, any of the authorized users may legally possess the firearm. In other words, individual ownership of the item would prevent you from sharing it with a friend or relative. You would have to go with them to the range any time you wanted to let them use it.
Fourth, a well drafted NFA Trust should never be made “irrevocable”. While we have heard of lawyers and some of the cheap knock-off websites making this foolish mistake, the Grantor should not relinquish his right to make changes to the terms of the trust. Specifically, the ability to add devices and add or change Trustees and Beneficiaries is one an important feature of a well written NFA Firearms Trust (like ours).
While much of FA’s article is humorous, his rants make several important points. You have to keep a copy of your paperwork together with your NFA firearm or device if you want to avoid trouble. We agree with FC that shops that trick their customers into establishing a trusts without them even knowing is awful. If you are ever stopped by law enforcement without the paperwork, you will very likely wind up explaining things to a judge, which will likely be another huge waste of money with your lawyer.
It is also funny that FC bought his trust form at OfficeMax. This probably explains why he is so hot about lawyers. (Not the point of this article, but we couldn’t resist pointing that out…)
We agree with FC that it is absolutely horrible that some lawyers rely on scare tactics. No only that, but they rely on false scare tactics. If they need to resort to threatening jail-time to sell something they obviously know nothing about, that’s embarrassing to the profession.
We don’t use scare tactics on our site. In fact, we’ve maintained for years that such scare tactics are nonsense. See this quote from our F.A.Q.s:
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 be cured.
The benefits of a Gun Trust are simple and numerous:
FC is right, Gun Trusts might not be for everyone. However, if you decide one is right for you, remember that a trusted source, like NFAFirearmsTrust.com, has fairly priced documents, drafted by experienced lawyers, tested by thousands of applications, and supported by a money back guarantee, and is absolutely the best assurance of a successful outcome.