Gun Trust

Typically, most types of property in an estate distribution can be made to a beneficiary with little to no risk. However, firearms present unique challenges in estate planning. Transferring a firearm to a beneficiary who can’t legally possess one can result in criminal prosecution and hefty fines for both the person transferring the firearm and the person receiving the transfer.

A Gun Trust will help you avoid these legal pitfalls and ensure that your firearm is transferred legally to the beneficiary upon your death. There are several benefits to creating a Gun Trust:

Provides a Layer of Privacy and Avoids Probate

Property that goes through probate will be listed in the probate estate and possibly along with the market value of each item. These documents are available for the public to see and may not be in the best interest for your heirs. Firearms placed in a Gun Trust avoid probate, will not be listed in public documents, and automatically transfer to the beneficiaries.

Controls Who Receives Firearms Upon Your Death

A Gun Trust helps provide for the safe and orderly transfer of your firearms to your named beneficiaries. The potential negative consequences of running afoul of the complex laws surrounding the use and ownership of firearms, especially Title II firearms can be disastrous for everyone involved. Leaving firearms to your heirs without the proper safety measures can lead to large fines up to $5,000.00 and up to 10 years in prison for everyone involved including the executor, Trustee, and even your heirs. These problems can be avoided with the use of a Gun Trust.

Covers the Possibility of Incapacitation

An incapacitated person cannot own a firearm. Problems arise when a gun owner becomes incapacitated and has no family member or friend who can legally possess the firearm, the person taking possession of the firearm could be in danger of breaking the law. If the firearm is placed into a Trust, the successor trustee would take possession of the firearm upon the incapacitation of the grantor and can hold or distribute the firearms based on the grantor’s intentions and wishes, as outlined in the trust documents.

Automatically Disqualifies Beneficiaries and Trustees Who Are No Longer Legally Capable of Possessing Firearms

Firearms are heavily regulated and not everyone is legally allowed to purchase and own firearms. For example, not only does an Illinois resident have to meet all of the Federal guidelines and pass a background check, but you must have been issued a FOID from the Illinois State Police as well. To ensure the Trust survives and Trust property does not fall into the wrong hands, beneficiaries and Trustees are automatically disqualified from receiving and/or possessing Trust property if they are not legally capable of possessing a firearm.

Allows Multiple Trustees to Use Title II Weapons

Title II weapons include suppressors/silencers, short-barreled rifles (SBR’s), short-barreled shotguns, machineguns (fully automatic firearms), and explosives, and are heavily regulated by the Federal Government. Problems arise when Title II weapon owners let someone else borrow their Title II weapon or bequeath the Title II weapon to an heir. Gun Trusts smooth the way to allow for multiple Co-Trustees to take possession of the Trust property and allows a smooth and seamless transition of Trust property to beneficiaries

Wisconsin Residents

It is legal for Wisconsin Residents to purchase and own the following Title II firearms: Suppressors/Silencers; machineguns (fully automatic firearms), short-barreled rifles (SBR’s) and short-barreled shotguns. These weapons are heavily regulated by the federal government. To avoid legal pitfalls, it is recommended that these weapons are placed into a Gun Trust. Please contact the attorneys at Winick & Gallaher to find out more information on how a Gun Trust will benefit you.

To speak with one of our Naperville business law attorneys or lawyers about our gun trust law practice, call 630-548-5800 or use our email form to contact us today.


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