Can Annie Get Your Gun? Important steps to take when including guns in your will or trust

Gun Trusts and Texas Gun Laws

A client came to see me last week and he was a collector of guns.  He had spent his life learning about and collecting very special firearms and wanted to pass his love of guns and his lifelong pursuit of collectable guns to his children.  While I often receive similar requests from my clients about family jewelry or other heirlooms, I had not considered the implications of a client wanting to give their gun collection to the children as part of their will or trust.  It occurred to me that this may be more complicated than giving your daughter your wedding china or giving your son your collection of tools. 

There are lots of laws which effect, restrict, limit and guide the ownership of guns.  Some guns require very specific ownership and are carefully monitored by the Federal Government.  In the case of my client he was a collector of antique machine guns from various wars.  He took great pride in the fact that he had carefully researched and chosen each firearm and that he had repaired them and now maintained them each in perfect working order.  But the National Firearms Act is very specific and carries with it heavy penalties for illegally owning certain types of guns, like those owned by my client.

In order to transfer the ownership of his guns, he needed something called a gun trust which would allow for the legal possession and transfer of his guns to his family members upon his death.  

In order to meet his goals and needs for the transfer of his firearms to his children, we worked together to create a separate trust, called a gun trust, to protect, preserve and pass the ownership of his special and unique gun collection. 

It is important to consult with a knowledgeable estate planning attorney no matter what your goals and needs might be, but sometimes, not consulting with an attorney can have very severe consequences, like passing along not just your possessions to your family members, but a harsh federal penalty as well for not doing it right.