Many sources offer gun trusts. Some of these sources are licensed attorneys—some of these sources are not. The primary advice we can offer regarding gun trusts is this: If you think a professional is expensive, try an amateur.
We offer gun trusts because we use them ourselves. Whether your goal is to purchase a suppressor or short-barreled rifle, to acquire something more exotic, or to build you own hardware, we believe gun trusts are a superior solution to gun ownership and for compliance with the National Firearms Act.
- What a gun trust can do A gun trust is a tool, a legal fiction, that exists as a creature of state law. Usually created by contract, the trust vests all power and authority into a trustee. The trustee then holds the trust property for the benefit of one or more beneficiaries. Apart from a few statutory requirements, the trustee’s obligations are largely governed by the trust contract. A Texas trust can exist without oversight from the Texas Secretary of State’s office. Unlike corporate entities, trusts and their records are private. However, like a corporate entity, a trustee can own property, sell property, use property, engage in commercial activities with trust property, and apply for and obtain licenses, permits, and similar authorizations—all in the name of the trust, or in the trustee’s official capacity (rather than the trustee’s personal capacity). This allows the trustee to maintain trust business as a separate series of activities from the trustee’s personal activities.
- What a gun trust cannot do A gun trust cannot last forever. While corporate entities are allowed to maintain perpetual existence, that existence comes at a cost of (1) filing paperwork that will be available to the public, and (2) annual or periodic filing with the state. Further, unlike corporate entities, a trust is not a separate “person” under state law. The trustee is liable for all trust business, but only in the trustee’s official capacity (with a few exceptions).
- Advantages of a gun trust In addition to the distinctions listed above, a gun trust is generally easier to manage. All authority is consolidated into a single trustee. Under Texas law, a trustee may have the power to appoint lower offices, such as trust agents or trust officers, to assist the trustee in the administration of the trust. Also, a gun trust can be used to complement or supplement existing estate planning strategies. While many individuals who use gun trusts do so for compliance purposes, gun trusts may be used to ensure that the right people inherit weapons. Of course, like other trusts, a properly formed gun trust can offer some shelter for all firearms, whether they are rare or common. Finally, gun trusts are easy to create. They can generally be formed in a single business day, following a consultation. No outside approvals for the creation of the trust are required.
- Compliance with federal law Properly written gun trusts can be used to streamline and simplify compliance with the National Firearms Act, and such trusts have been used to purchase or build the following types of items:
- Short-barreled rifles
- Short-barreled shotguns
- Machine guns (purchase only)
- Supplemental Services Our firm will assist you in the preparation of your gun trust, offering consultations prior to any decision you make we also offer the following services in conjunction with your gun trust needs:
- Existing gun trust review, and revision
- Assistance with completing federal forms
- Estate planning regarding the safekeeping of firearms
- Consultations regarding the use of trusts for commercial purposes
We have offices in Houston, Midland, Austin, and San Antonio.