Welcome Patrons of American Firearms School & Patriot Consulting!
The Law Offices of Senerchia & Sheehan P.C is experienced at drafting living Gun Trusts and NFA Gun Trusts for the purpose of protecting future transfers, having multiple owners, avoiding probate, protecting future transfers and the trust exists beyond death.
We are not a faceless national form-builder website, but an actual team of attorneys living here in the Northeast assisting Clients with their Gun Trusts.
Why Have a Gun Trust?
A Gun Trust is typically used for NFA items, however in light of the current political climate, gun owners should consider transferring ALL of their guns into a Trust in order to avoid certain proposals under consideration that would ban ALL transfers of any so-called "Assault Weapon" as well as other items.
One of the key Senate proposals under consideration would ban any and all transfers of certain guns and magazines – to ANYONE – including your own children. You wouldn't even be able to have your guns passed to your children through your Will at your death! Instead, your guns and magazines would presumably be confiscated by the government at your death.
Our Gun Trust is not your run-of-the-mill internet-provided gun trust that is a mere shell that is delivered to you in a matter of seconds. These Trusts are generic in nature, short, and are not specific to your particular state laws. There are many things to take into consideration when drafting a trust in which we will guide you through and explain each provision. We tailor each trust based on your specific needs and wants after a full client intake interview. Our Trusts are over 80 pages long with provisions for successor trustees, trust protectors, beneficiaries and other protections not found with the online do-it-yourself gun trust. You will receive all of the necessary documents and forms to administer the trust as you see fit with no additional cost to you.
What is a Gun Trust and how does it work?
As part of your estate and asset protection plan, you probably think you've checked all the boxes. You may have a will, a trust, and even an end-of-life plan in place to protect your family and your estate. But have you thought about protecting your firearms? If you're living in Rhode Island or Massachusetts a gun trust may be an intelligent addition to your estate planning.
With a Gun Trust, Federal law allows NFA items to be owned by individuals, but also by trusts and business entities such as corporations. A Gun Trust is a generic name for a revocable or irrevocable management trust created to take the title of firearms and certain firearms accessories. Sometimes these trusts are also called NFA Gun Trusts because they apply to weapons covered by the National Firearms Act and the Gun Control Act of 1968. Since the trust would be the owner of the NFA item, all of the trustees of the trust would be able to use the NFA item and not just an individual owner. NFA weapons have a serial number, and owners must register them with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF). Only one owner can use and possess these firearms, and the owner must pay a $200 tax to transfer a registered firearm.
Advantages of Having a Gun Trust
There are some practical advantages to a gun trust, even before estate planning comes into play:
Protecting Future Transfers
If future laws prohibit or restrict the transfer of certain firearms, a gun trust may help. Because every trustee of your gun trust can possess or use the firearms, a gun trust may allow you to sidestep some restrictions. For instance, by transferring you magazines into the trust prior to a ban and restriction on transfers the trust would then own those magazines and since the trust never dies those magazines can be used by the other trustees of the trust.
More than one person can own and possess a firearm in a gun trust. If you name multiple trustees to the gun trust, each trustee will have the right to use or possess the weapons.
Trust Exists Beyond Death
If you'd like, you can set up your gun trust to continue beyond your death, allowing your beneficiaries to use and possess the firearms in the trust without paying the $200 transfer tax to the ATF, filing forms, being fingerprinted, and requesting permission from local law enforcement. The trustees and beneficiaries will have whatever rights you grant them in the trust.
If you name specific beneficiaries for the firearms in your gun trust, the firearms don't have to go through probate and pass directly to your named beneficiaries. Having your firearms in a trust can also avoid legal issues for the executor of your estate. A trustee manages the trust, and you can name a trustee well-versed in federal and state gun laws to avoid the executor inadvertently passing weapons to someone who cannot legally possess them.
If you ever experience incapacitation, the Gun Trust will provide guidance to your friends and family regarding the proper handling of your firearms. As firearms are restricted to individuals outside the trust, handling the weapon without proper authorization could potentially violate state gun laws and regulations. The Gun Trust will offer clear instructions to these individuals, ensuring they understand the lawful actions to be taken in such circumstances.
Red Flag Laws
Our trust contains provisions that deem a trustee to be expelled once they have become a prohibited person. A person becomes a prohibited person when the Red Flag / Extreme Risk Protective Order is issued, which means that person is no longer a trustee and a result a successor trustee and Co-trustee is now automatically assigned. The law enforcement official who is carrying out the ERPO, will likely seize any and all firearms in constructive possession of the prohibited person even if they are assigned to the Gun Trust. However, a trustee of that trust would have the ability to potentially retrieve those firearms and accessories back from authorities, but that trustee must continually prohibit the use of those firearms from the prohibited person until they can legally possession those items.
Benefits of a NFA Gun Trust for Title II Items.
Independent of Sheriff's permission is not needed: Local law enforcement often denies permission, which can prevent gun purchases without a trust.
Exemption from fingerprint requirement: Trust ownership eliminates the need for two sets of fingerprint cards.
Photo submission not required: Trust ownership exempts you from the requirement of submitting a photograph.
Secure gun ownership: Gun trusts function similarly to other trusts, ensuring easy and legal transfer of firearms within your family.
Shared access among trust members: All trust members can have authorized access to the firearms in possession of the Trust.
Avoidance of filing fees: Gun trusts help you avoid unnecessary filing fees, where a corporation has minimum yearly filing requirements.
Confidentiality of records: Gun trust records remain private and confidential.
Future-proofing against changing laws: Given the uncertain political climate, gun trusts offer protection against potential government interference and evolving gun laws.
Expedited registration process: Engaging a Gun Trust Attorney can accelerate the firearm registration process.
Bypassing rigorous background checks: Gun trusts spare you from the extensive background check requirements
Why do you need a NFA Trust?
Individuals are mandated by the BATFE (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives) to register their purchases and seek signature from their Chief Law Enforcement Officer (CLEO). Subsequently, they should acquire a Title II firearm through a Class 3 dealer. Nevertheless, it's important to note that a significant number of CLEOs are currently denying their signature for law abiding Gun Owners seeking to purchase am NFA item. Having a Gun Trust avoids this signature requirement and only requires the CLEO to be notified and provided a copy of the application.
The NFA and other applicable gun laws have very technical requirements. Violations are punishable by up to ten years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.00, per violation. You could also face forfeiture of the items, and in the event of a felony conviction, be permanently prohibited from possessing guns, ammunition, or components.
If your trust does not meet all the requirements of the laws of your state, it could be invalid. That means you, your friends, and your family may possess items regulated by the NFA, without authorization. Your family and friends may not be familiar with gun laws. You must take steps to protect them from violating the laws. We begin with the standard living trust for your state of residence, then add significant custom provisions to make it suitable for owning NFA items. You remain in complete control of the trust assets.
We also provide you with a form allowing you to appoint additional trustees, another form allowing you to remove any trustee, and another form allowing you to transfer additional property to the trust. This means you do not have to incur additional fees to get these things done at a later date.
What Firearms Qualify for the Gun Trust?
There are two types of Gun Trusts that can be created for NFA items and submitted to the ATF and one for your regular Firearms and accessories. Both Types of Trust have the same function.
In Massachusetts, you can own the following items that are regulated by the National Firearms Act
- Machine guns (if you have a machine gun license or “green card”)
- Any Other Weapon (AOW)
- Destructive Devices (DD)
- Factory Short Barreled Shotguns (SBS) in theory but effectively prohibited
- Short Barreled Rifles (SBR)
In Mass, the SBR is king — it is the most common NFA firearm for a Massachusetts gun owner to make/acquire (whether individually or using a Massachusetts gun trust). In fact, due in large part to the restrictions imposed by the Massachusetts Assault Weapons Ban, the Massachusetts Attorney General's Office, and the Executive Office of Public Safety, our gun trust clients in Massachusetts generally make their own SBRs since lawfully acquiring an SBR in Massachusetts can be difficult.
In the state of Rhode Island, all NFA items are banned. Even though all NFA items are excluded, having a Gun Trust is incredibly valuable for all of your other Firearms and accessories.
The Gun Trust Agreement and Complete Package
Protection of your rights is simple and affordable. We offer Basic and Advanced Gun Trusts to start out with. There is also the ability to have multiple separate gun trusts for NFA and Non-NFA items.
Basic Gun Trust
- Attorney Drafted for Basic Needs
- Protects and control your firearm collection, during your lifetime as well as your spouse( if married)
- Ability to add One Trustee in addition to your spouse
- Detailed instructions on how to use your trust
- Ability to upgrade later.
Advanced Gun Trust
- Trust for those individuals with Children or plan to have children
- Everything included with the Basic
- Protection and Control for Multiple Generations
- Up to 4 Trustees with no additional Cost
In Addition to the Trust Agreement, both include the following:
- The Executive Summary For the Trust Agreement
- Trustee Checklist for Trust Agreement
- Schedule B which includes the Federal statutes and regulations relevant to the administration of the Trust
- Trust Forms - With/without Notary acknowledgment
- Assignments to add or remove firearms and accessories to the Trust
- Removal of Trustee
- Appointment of Co-Trustee
- Appointment of Successor Trustee
- Exercise of Power to Add a Beneficiary
- Exercise of Power to Remove a Beneficiary
Contact a Gun Trust Lawyer in Rhode Island & Massachusetts Today
At Law Offices of Senerchia & Sheehan, we know you have lots of questions about how Gun Trust can be incorporated into your estate planning. Our Gun Trust lawyer in Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire is here to answer your specific questions. Contact us either by using our online form or calling us directly at 401-615-3880 to schedule a free initial consultation. We are also Licensed in Connecticut and New Hampshire and are able tp provide these same services to those states as well