Attorney John Mangan practices law in the areas of trusts and estates, wills, probate, business entities and asset protection. John has developed a passion for firearms planning, which is an area that is often overlooked in the completion of a typical estate plan. Did you know that in many cases, firearms may not be smoothly transferred to the next generation after the owner has passed on and even a firearm collection that has been in your family for generations may be at risk? Many estate plans don’t specifically plan for the transfer of firearms, some of which require the approval of the federal government to transfer. Even worse, without the proper legal mechanisms in place, your loved ones or friends could commit an “accidental felony” simply by coming into contact with certain firearms.
When planning your estate it is important to consider all of your belongings, and what you want to happen to them after your passing. For most items it is a simple process of choosing who you want to have the item, and listing it in your will, trust, or personal property memorandum. When it comes to firearms, especially Class III or National Firearms Act (N.F.A.) type firearms, however, it is not quite so simple. If you don’t have everything set up properly, your firearms may be deemed contraband and seized by the government. Another risk is that your loved ones will take possession of the guns improperly, and could inadvertently commit a felony in doing so. In order to avoid these issues, owners of N.F.A. firearms (includes items such as short-barreled shotguns, short-barreled rifles, machine guns, suppressors/silencers, explosive devices, large caliber weapons, and a broad category called Any Other Weapon (A.O.W.) should consider the creation of an N.F.A. gun trust, which may provide the following benefits:
- Allow Multiple People to Use the Firearms (provided they are not prohibited parties).
- May allow them the right to possess and use the firearms freely.
- Possess them in your presence or the presence of an appointed trustee.
In contrast, if an N.F.A. firearm is registered in the name of one individual, then only that individual is permitted to possess or use the firearms. Otherwise, an N.F.A. violation may occur, which could subject the parties to the following:
- 10 years in jail / felony conviction
- $250k fine per violation
- Forfeiture of the firearm
If you own firearms and want to see them passed safely on to your spouse, children, grandchildren, or other beneficiaries, the Law Offices of John Mangan, P.A. can help!