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December 29 2021

Is a Gun Trust Right for You?

By: Curtis L. Underwood

The purpose of a good estate plan is to adequately account for the disposition of valuable assets after the passing of the person making the estate plan.  While many assets can be disposed of through the traditional means, such as wills and standard trusts, the process can be more difficult for items that are subject to greater regulation.  One primary example of this is firearms.

Whether a person owns pistols, unregulated long guns, or NFA Class II firearms, there are several considerations that are worth taking into account that may make it advantageous to set up a Gun Trust.  First, firearm owners are often concerned about the transition and transfer of the weapons.  A firearm owner will want to plan for the succession of who will own the weapons after they pass.  For unregulated long guns, this process is simple.   However, there are many pitfalls that firearm owners should be aware of when transferring pistols and NFA Class II firearms to ensure that the transfer if legal and safe. 

Second, as many are aware, failure to take the proper registration steps for each person who owns or uses a NFA Class II weapon can result in an “accidental felony."  However, such a situation can be easily avoided through a well-prepared Gun Trust and estate plan which accounts for various owners and the registration requirement for those weapons.  Further, estate planning for pistols can be important given that the State of Michigan has reporting and registration requirements on the transfer of pistols.  Those who inherit such weapons can find themselves in a difficult position if this process was not accounted for to ensure that they have all necessary information to complete the registration documents.  

Third, firearms can be dangerous and keeping them safe and appropriately locked is important.  Having a Gun Trust can allow the transition of firearms to be organized and accompanied by other items, such as gun locks and safes, to avoid situations in which an unprepared person inherits such firearms.

If a Gun Trust may be right for you, our attorneys are knowledgeable and up-to-date on the relevant laws and regulations.  For more information, please call Curtis Underwood at 616-632-8021 and he or one of our other attorneys would be happy to discuss our services.