Harrison & Mecklenburg, Inc. Full-Service Law Firm Serving Kingfisher, Stillwater & Watonga

Should a Gun Trust Be Part of Your Estate Plan?

Every adult should have a valid estate plan in place; however, a 2020 poll conducted by Caring.com indicated only 32% of Americans have a Will. A common misconception is that upon your death, your spouse will automatically inherit your entire estate. This is not actually the case in Oklahoma. In many cases, your spouse would receive only a portion of your property and your children or other relatives would be entitled to the remainder. Estate planning is critical to ensuring all your assets pass to those people you want to inherit them.

A comprehensive estate plan is especially important for those individuals who own firearms. Below are some of the most common reasons individuals are increasingly electing to utilize gun trusts as a part of their comprehensive estate plan:

  1. Gun Trusts can allow sharing of NFA-regulated suppressors, firearms, and other assets with family and trusted friends outside of your presence without violating federal or state criminal laws.
  1. Gun Trusts can help avoid “accidental felonies.” If you own an NFA-regulated item, maintaining it in a safe for which another person has the combination could result in that person being determined to have possession of the item, which could potentially result in felony charges being brought against that person for unlawful possession of a firearm. Although the prosecution rate for accidental felonies is relatively low, it would only take a change in the philosophy of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives to start seeing more prosecutions.
  1. Gun Trusts allow for a more efficient and private transfer of firearms upon your death. If firearms must be distributed through your estate, a full inventory of all the items you own may become public record. A gun trust allows your inventory of firearms to remain private, and, along with other estate planning, may allow your loved ones to avoid probate altogether.
  1. Gun Trusts can protect your NFA-regulated items if you become incapacitated. If you become incapacitated prior to your death, NFA-regulated items are subject to immediate confiscation. A gun trust can help ensure that your family and trusted friends will still be able to use and enjoy your NFA-regulated items.

At Harrison & Mecklenburg, Inc., we encourage all individuals to develop a comprehensive estate plan. If you have any additional questions about gun trusts or estate planning in general please contact our offices.