How to Compare Gun Trusts

When shopping for a gun trust, what should you compare besides price? Forming a gun trust is not an area where you should look to cut corners. A few dollars in price difference should not be the determining factor when you consider the potential legal and criminal liability one takes on when NFA firearms are purchased. A poorly prepared gun trust puts the grantor and beneficiaries at risk of a felony conviction that could give up to 10 years in prison or a $250,000 fine.
Since every gun trust is different, you need to take time to learn exactly what you need in a custom gun trust to suit your needs. Gregory Herman-Giddens of Southern Gun Law Group is a member of GunDocx® Lawyers, an industry-recognized national group of over 75 attorneys who work closely with the ATF to stay on the cutting edge of firearms law and ATF regulations in order to providing legal protection to firearms owners.
Here are the features you could have in your NFA gun trust. Compare your gun trust options with the list below:
  • NFA gun trusts should be designed to address specific legal issues related to the firearms you own. Generic revocable living trusts do not satisfy this issue for gun owners. This can be done through multiple schedules for listing NFA firearms owned by the trust and also maintaining confidential information about non-NFA firearms included in the trust. (It will also retain the Bill of Sale for non-NFA firearms and assignment of ownership transfers.)
  • NFA gun trusts should also offer the owner flexibility during their ongoing trust administration. Your trust should allow you to list beneficiaries through exhibits, and a Personal Property Memorandum will allow the grantor to designate who inherits specific trust assets, all without without having to update the entire trust.
  • If you have not retained a gun trust attorney, your trust probably does not include a Trust User Guide. The Trust User Guide is designed specifically for the trust holder and offers instructions on how to properly use the trust when owning and buying firearms.
  • Does your NFA gun trust offer a sample ATF Form 4 and a checklist with detailed instructions on how to complete the form correctly?
  • Ability to appoint a co-trustee for adding individuals to legally possess and administer trust property.
  • Acceptance of co-trustee to establish their legal authority of trust assets.
  • Trust owner’s limitation of liability set forth by the co-trustee declaration receiving access to firearms
  • Addition of lifetime beneficiary. This allows an individual to receive limited access to firearms owned by the trust without surrendering full trust powers.
  • Grant of Use documenting the trust assets the lifetime beneficiary may access.
  • Beneficiary declaration limiting the appointing trustee’s liability for giving a beneficiary access to a firearm.
  • Removal of lifetime beneficiary giving the appointing trustee the ability to revoke a beneficiary’s right to possess trust firearms.
  • Backup CD containing PDF copies of all documents so you can reprint as needed.