According to CBS News, North Dakota has the 9th highest gun ownership rate in the nation, with nearly half of the state's residents keeping a firearm in their possession. As the nation becomes more conflicted about gun policies, it is important for owners to know how they can incorporate their weapons into their estate planning.
Thankfully, gun trusts exist for those who want to pass on their firearms to their heirs. These documents are essential for bypassing tedious processes to ensure that your prized silencers will fall into the right hands. It is crucial for gun owners in the Peace Garden State to understand the process of setting up a gun trust and why they should do so.
What does it do?
A gun trust is not too different from a trust on any other property. The purpose of it is to ensure that the transfer of your firearms to your heirs is easy and avoids slow, meticulous proceedings such as probate after your death. However, unlike a house or car, guns have far stricter state and federal regulations. You can only transfer guns that are approved by the National Firearms Act (NFA), which includes silencers, short-barreled rifles and machine guns that were manufactured before 1986.
There have been some modifications to the formula since the inception. For example, many used this method as a loophole to easily obtain weapons such as machine guns without going through background checks. This was changed in 2016 when the government signed Final Rule 41F to ensure that these firearms fall into responsible hands.
Why should owners do it?
A major difference gun trusts has from other trusts is that the individual can allow multiple trustees to possess their weapons after their death. Additionally, gun trusts can be used to decrease or negate any possible transfer taxes that are applicable to each firearm, most of which are around $200.
Arguably the most important advantage of creating a gun trust is to ensure that the executor of your estate is not the sole person responsible for distributing your weapons. Most estate administrators lack the proper experience in this department and could potentially violate a law by transferring it improperly. Since you will inform your trustee about the inheritance, they will have more experience with the asset and will likely avoid any legal issues.
However, this is a sensitive topic that could see potential changes in the future. If you want up to date information or advice on how to proceed with your gun trusts, an estate administration attorney can help you understand how to transfer your prized possessions safely and properly.