The 2015 National Rifle Association (NRA) Annual Meeting was held in Nashville, Tennessee in April. In addition to the many exhibits and products featured at the event, several sessions revealed news about pending gun trust regulation deadline changes and protocol questions for firearms estate planning:
Gun trusts inheriting from trusts. Trusts generally name individuals as beneficiaries. However, a discussion at the NRA Show in Nashville this year revealed that gun trusts can inherit from another trust. William J. Ryan, Office of Chief Counsel with BATFE, discussed the process using a Form 5 at the Firearms Law Seminar.
Rule 41P delays. Pending legislation is forecast to be delayed once again. The target date for passing gun trust regulations most recently announced by the ATF fell in May 2015, but discussions at the NRA Show reveal that this date is pushed off an additional six months at the very least. With the current estimated date in mind, the government’s decision will likely occur nearly two years or more after the original timeline.DIY gun trust templates. Our gun trust attorneys have reviewed the disadvantages of attractive do-it-yourself gun trusts. DIY trust templates for firearms remain poor tools to manage firearms in estate planning. An unintentional error in this sensitive area of law could cause costly consequences.
Personal representatives in estates. Federal law prohibits ‘prohibited persons’ from possessing NFA items. Prohibited persons are defined by the ATF here. A background check on a personal representative (executor) is not performed when an individual names a personal representative in their will. If an individual owns firearms and prepares a will, how can they ensure the personal representative is not classified as a prohibited person? The Firearms Law seminar revealed that this area currently falls under self-regulation. Although this seems to be inconsistent with the government’s intentions with 41P, no further policies or regulations were cited.
Several of the items above should prompt individuals who use gun trusts to review documents with a lawyer to ensure compliance. A firearms owner who does not have provisions for their weapons in their estate plan should discuss options with a gun trust attorney. Gun trusts can be customized to fit the owner’s unique weapons—both NFA and non-NFA items can be included.