A gun trust, also known as a NFA Trust, is a legal tool designed to address specific issues concerning the ownership, transfer, and possession of firearms and other items regulated by the National Firearm Act (NFA).

You can lawfully purchase and own NFA firearms in Florida. You do have to register these weapons with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (BATFE or ATF), pay a $200 tax on each one, and obtain the consent of your Chief Law Enforcement Officer (CLEO).  However, if you create a proper Gun Trust, the trust owns the NFA items. A corporation or LLC can also be used to own weapons, but trusts do not require annual taxes or filing fees, thus limiting the hassle and expense of maintaining weapons.

Some benefits of creating a NFA Trust include:

  • Being able to designate trustees who will be authorized to have access to and use your NFA items and firearms.  This eliminates the danger of constructive possession by appointing the people you want to be able to access your collection.
  • No CLEO approval required
  • When using an NFA Gun Trust to acquire NFA regulated items, neither fingerprints nor photographs are required.  Unlike when an individual directly purchases a firearm.
  • Firearms do not become a part of the public record which is searchable by all
  • No annual taxes to pay to maintain a corporation or LLC; only required to pay the $200 tax stamp

Additionally, once you pass away, the NFA Trust provides rules for legally handling the items. After your death, your estate and all your belongings will likely begin the process of probate (unless you have an estate plan in place). As many know, probate is an exhausting, daunting process that could take years. Probate proceedings will be necessary to transfer your NFA guns or items to your heirs and are a part of the public record, meaning people will know exactly what your children have by searching public records right on their home computers. With an NFA Trust, you can decide which beneficiaries will acquire all or part of your collection.

Your beneficiaries will be protected and your NFA firearms will not be subject to probate or made part of the public record. The NFA Trust can have specific provisions to protect beneficiaries, such as your children, from violating the NFA and ensuring they do not receive the NFA firearms if they live in a location where it is illegal to possess NFA firearms. The trust also allows the parent to specify when the child can receive the guns (must be at least eighteen years old by Florida law).

Be sure to arm your assets with a proper gun trust.  For more information on successful Florida estate planning and asset protection, contact the South Florida law firm of Wild Felice & Partners, P.A. at 954-944-2855 or via email at mwild@wfplaw.com to schedule your free consultation.

        It’s a Wild world. Are you protected? SM