What is the Best Gun Trust?
A Trust Crafted Towards Your Individual Needs
The best gun trust is one that is specially catered toward your individual needs. Realistically, you will only get a gun trust that is tailored specifically for your individual needs from an attorney. The problem is that most attorneys who practice in the area of drawing up trusts have no idea how to draw up a gun trust. Most trust and estate attorneys practice the art of wealth management and wealth distribution - a far cry from the world of State and Federal gun laws.
If you do find a lawyer who specializes in gun trusts, then it will likely cost you a good chunk of change and the attorney may even try to convince you to form an LLC instead of a trust anyways. Many of the gun trust lawyers out there operate under the terms of licensing agreements in which they sell a particular brand of a gun trust drawn up by a different attorney. The attorneys subject to gun trust licensing agreements have to pay a large cut of whatever they make from the gun trust. So instead, many of these attorneys will try to convince you to set up a LLC so that they can get 100% of your money. However, a LLC does not have the advantages of a trust because it has public reporting requirements and has to be registered with the State. This costs you additional money, does not protect your privacy, and does not provide for what happens to the guns after your death.
Ideally, you would want to find an attorney who has drawn up their own gun trust that is specifically tailored to the National Firearms Act, Gun Control Act of 1968, and all relevant State and local laws. If the attorney has drawn up the trust themselves then they will have done their due diligence in research on the relevant guns laws to be able to write you a different trust depending on your needs. Some people want a gun trust just to have NFA weapons, or maybe NFA weapons plus other guns, or just other guns. Some people have unique needs with regards to how they want their weapons in the gun trust to pass after they die. An attorney that has put the time and effort into learning the relevant gun laws and crafting a trust based specifically on your needs knows what they are worth and will charge a good amount for their services. If you are willing to spend the money, that would be the best trust you would get and you would get the benefit of a live person who can answer all of your questions.
If you are not willing to spend the kind of money that hiring an attorney would cost, then an online gun trust will offer you the second best option.
A Gun Trust Created by a Specialist and Made for General Use
Most people have the same goals out of their use of and creation of a gun trust. Most people want the privacy that a gun trust affords a person when registering with the ATF. Most people want the flexibility of a gun trust in choosing their trustees and beneficiaries. These kinds of general goals out of a gun trust can be provided for in online gun trusts.
Not all online gun trusts are created equal. Unless a gun trust specifically says that it was created with the National Firearms Act and Gun Control Act of 1968 in mind, and contains language in the trust providing for compliance with those Federal Acts, then the trust most likely does not take those Acts into account. There are online gun trusts being sold that are just basic and generic living trusts. You could find those same blank forms for free online after some searching. You could easily complete the form yourself for free if you so desired. Generic gun trusts will get approved by the ATF, but they will offer you virtually no protection.
It is a felony to be in possession of a NFA firearms without it being properly registered. This is why people are registering their firearms with the ATF through a gun trust. By registering your NFA firearms with the ATF through a gun trust, you are registering yourself and all the people you choose to be a trustee to be eligible possessors of NFA firearms. A generic trust does not account for the fact that it would be a felony for the beneficiaries of the trust to receive NFA weapons. These trusts were not designed with the NFA in mind and would make the ultimate beneficiaries commit a felony by simply receiving the benefit of the trust.
The Best Gun Trusts Will Protect You, the Creator, and the Beneficiaries
A well drafted gun trust is specifically catered towards the NFA and has protections for the beneficiaries of NFA weapons. The Secure Gun Trust specifically references the National Firearms Act and the Gun Control Act of 1968, and provides protections for the creator of the trust, the trust itself, and the beneficiaries of the trust.
The Secure Gun Trust protects itself from being invalidated by providing for the automatic removal of trustees who have done an act or committed a crime that would disqualify them from being able to be in possession of NFA firearms (for example, convicted felons are not allowed to be in possession of a NFA firearm, so if a trustee in the Secure Gun Trust starts out perfectly qualified to be in possession of a full auto and then subsequently commits a felony, the Secure Gun Trust provides for their removal from a Trustee in order to protect the trust property and everybody else in the trust).
Furthermore, the Secure Gun Trust protects the beneficiaries of the trust by not allowing them to come into possession of the NFA firearms until they have themselves registered with the ATF and received certification stating that they are eligible to own and be in possession of the firearms. The Secure Gun Trust would have the NFA weapons remain in trust until the beneficiaries are qualified to inherit the NFA weapons, keeping the trust and the beneficiaries protected.
The Best Gun Trust For You Depends On Your Needs
If you plan on doing some complicated stuff with your trust, then you may want to enlist the services of an attorney to ensure that you are in compliance with all the laws. The Secure Gun Trust was designed for one person to put in the assets, then for the trustees to manage the assets (the guns), and then when the creator dies the beneficiaries inherit the assets.
Some people want all of the assets of the trust to go to their spouse, and if their spouse is not then alive, then to their children, or other different contingent scenarios. The more complicated the scenario that you desire for your guns when you die, the more likely you should seek the counsel of an attorney.
One of the advantages to the Secure Gun Trust is that it is a do-it-yourself trust in which you fill in the blanks (and are given examples of completed trusts and how yours should look when completed as well as an informational pamphlet telling you everything you need to know to complete your trust and receive your ATF tax stamp). The advantage of having your trust in a Word document is that you can edit it and change it as often as you like. Some online gun trusts would provide your gun trust in a protected pdf document that you can never change once received. The Secure Gun Trust is completed by you and delivered to you in Microsoft Word, giving the power and control over the trust to you rather than forcing you to spend more money if you want any changes. This means that if you want to change your beneficiaries over time, or provide for your guns to pass to one beneficiary with the contingency that they are alive when the distribution occurs then you can do so at your whim.
The Secure Gun Trust was created from scratch by an attorney specifically with the goal to create the best gun trust that was out there. The Secure Gun Trust was drafted with the National Firearms Act and Gun Control Act of 1968 specifically in mind, and references those acts in the gun trust itself. The Secure Gun Trust was drafted to be in compliance with State laws, and was written generally enough that it could be in compliance with all State laws where NFA guns are legal. It is your responsibility to determine whether or not NFA guns are legal in your State or municipality. The Secure Gun Trust was written with language that requires the Trustees to operate the trust and use the weapons in compliance with all federal, state, and local laws. This means that it is your responsibility to know what those laws are, because the trust requires compliance with those laws. Additionally, some places in the United States do not allow the ownership and possession of NFA weapons, which means that the Secure Gun Trust could not be operated in those areas because the terms of the trust require compliance with the law. This protects the trust from being invalidated. You would be in violation of the law with any gun trust if you use the gun trust to own NFA weapons in an area where you're not allowed to own NFA weapons. The Secure Gun Trust provides the protection you need, is amendable, flexible, and requires compliance with State and Federal law. You should be aware that the Secure Gun Trust and informational pamphlet you receive upon your purchase will provide you with the tools that you need to create a gun trust, but your operation of the trust in compliance with the law is your responsibility.