If you die or become gravely ill, what happens to your firearms? If you get divorced or sued or file for bankruptcy, what happens to your firearms?
However uncomfortable these questions are to ask, they still need to be answered.
Attorney David M. Goldman can help you answer those questions. He is the founder of GunTrustLawyer.com, a website dedicated to providing gun owners a way to protect their firearms with a specific legal document known as a Gun Trust (also known as Firearms Trust, NFA Trusts, Class 3 Trusts, or Firearms Revocable Trusts).
Simply put, and as Goldman noted in his article in Ammoland, “A Gun Trust is an estate planning document that has been designed to help you acquire, manage, use, and transfer firearms including those restricted by the NFA [National Firearms Act of 1934] while protecting your family and friends from inadvertent violations of state and federal laws.”
A Gun Trust sets up a rubric for evaluating who should get what firearm when you can’t make the decision yourself. Certain things in life are fluid, such as a prospective beneficiary’s legal status, geographic location, maturity and responsibility, etc., and a properly drafted Gun Trust will take into account all of these factors to ensure the right beneficiary gets rewarded.
An added bonus of the Gun Trust is that beneficiaries will not be saddled with paying taxes on the appreciated value of the firearms they inherit. Goldman explicated a possible scenario:
“If you buy a gun worth $3,500 and then put it into a Gun Trust and you pass away when the gun has appreciated to $20,000 value, your beneficiaries would receive the asset at the stepped up basis and not be taxed on the jump in value. This trust instrument is rooted in traditional estate planning rules, backed by history and case law, and does not rely on statutory law that is subject to later change or interpretation.”
Another important aspect to Gun Trusts is asset protection.
“Imagine a Trust where you get to buy and sell your firearms, manage them, choose and change who can use them, that has no adverse income tax or estate tax problems, and protects the assets (your firearms) from those who may become your creditors in the future,” Goldman explained in the article.
In our ever-growing litigious society, where people are being sued left and right for just about anything and everything, this sounds like a particularly good idea. And the legal protection extends to an array of different scenarios.
Goldman wrote, “This includes liability from professional negligence, car accidents, lawsuits, investor suits, bankruptcy, and can even be structured to protect from loss due to a divorce or the need for government health care assistance like an organ transplant or nursing home coverage.”
Now, I know what you’re thinking. “Sounds great, what’s the cost?”
Well, I’m sure that depends on one’s particular situation. With that said, there is a do-it-yourself website (like a Legalzoom.com) that Goldman created called GunTrust.com. There, one can find all the requisite paperwork to put together his/her own trust without the assistance (or added fees) of a legal professional.
The cost of the downloadable paperwork is $349.
Is it worth it? Well, that’s up for you to decide.
Personally, I’ve never spoken with Goldman or his firm. Therefore, I can’t endorse his services. That said, I am intrigued by the idea and will certainly give establishing a Gun Trust some serious thought.
If you have worked with Mr. Goldman or if you have set up a Gun Trust, please share your thoughts below.
Pictures courtesy of GunTrust.com and GunTrustLawyer.com