Do you own guns? Whether you have one, two, or a whole collection, it is important that you learn about gun transfer after death. If the gun (or guns) is not transferred properly, your beneficiaries could end up facing state and/or federal prosecution. Assuming you don’t want to leave your loved ones with a burden after your death, you need to think about these details before it’s too late. Does your current plan legally transfer your guns at your death? Or do you need to consult with an attorney, to be sure that your plans are both lawful and logical?
The transferring of firearms upon death is regulated by both state and federal law. If you plan to transfer your firearm to someone who lives in Missouri and you also live in Missouri at the time of your death, the transfer is lawful so long as the individual receiving the weapon is legally allowed to own the firearm being transferred. If the beneficiary of your firearm lives in another state, however, then the transfer must be handled more carefully. Without careful planning and research, you may be breaking laws that will complicate the transfer after your death. Finally, if you own any Class III firearms (sometimes called NFA weapons), the transfer must be handled in an entirely different manner, regardless of where the beneficiary lives. You might decide to set up a gun trust, which is a revocable living trust designed for the ownership, transfer, and possession of weapons. The trust can help you avoid probate and some of the other problems that come along with gun transfer after death. The trust will own the gun(s) and must be carefully written to account for the types of guns held and the laws that apply to your situation. Because weapon laws vary from state to state, gun trusts are not always valid from one state to another. If you want to move a weapon held in the trust across state lines or if you want to revoke the trust, you have to get approval from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (BATFE). Firearm transfer after death is a complicated process and, without the help of an attorney, it’s easy to mess up. Many people overlook the details because they aren’t aware of the laws involved. They assume that they can simply give the firearms to an individual of their choice, ignoring or forgetting the legal ramifications.
So if you own firearms and you intend to set up a gun transfer after death, it would be wise to set up a meeting with attorneys experienced in estate planning. You can go over the applicable state and federal laws, create a viable arrangement, and review all the other details of your estate plan. If you live in Springfield, MO, give the attorneys at Parks & Jones a call. With our experience in estate planning and our knowledge of laws pertaining to gun transfer after death, we can help you set up a plan that fulfills your wishes but doesn’t break any laws.