California regulates firearms more than most other states. However, an estimated 4.2 million Californians still own guns. For many of these people, firearms represent a way of life: a means to feed their family, defend their home, or protect farmland against wild animals. Since rifles, handguns, and other weapons often accord both financial and sentimental value, they are frequently passed from one generation of family to another.
However, California and the federal government have special rules that can land your heirs in hot water if you do not take the right steps to ensure you legally transfer your rifles, especially those regulated by the National Firearms Act (NFA). A gun trust could provide an ideal way to shield your heirs from liability.
NFA Gun Trusts
A gun trust can be used to store firearms or firearm accessories subject to the NFA which requires special “tax stamps” for Title II firearms. If an individual seeks to transfer possession of their Title II firearms to another person—whether for resale or as part of an inheritance—they must obtain the written consent of a state law enforcement officer.
If someone tries to transfer or receive Title II weapons without the proper tax stamps or the consent of a police officer, they could face penalties of:
Gun trusts provide an ideal workaround because they can receive and transfer Title II tax stamps without law enforcement oversight.
Gun trusts can also provide other benefits:
In California, the most popular NFA firearms and accessories include:
Considerations for Creating a Gun Trust
You should never try to establish a gun trust by yourself. Since gun trusts are regulated by the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms, you could be heavily penalized if you make any mistakes in your trust paperwork. Even if the ATF or state regulators do not catch your mistake, any error could affect your beneficiaries.
Before you meet your California estate planning attorney for the first time, you should consider:
Contact Us Today
Setting up a gun trust can be challenging and risky without professional guidance. If you’re interested in establishing a gun trust, send the Law Firm of Kavesh, Minor & Otis, Inc. a message online today.