Knowledgeable New Hampshire estate planning attorneys have recently been counseling the owners of NFA (National Firearms Act) weapons to create separate “NFA” or “Gun” trusts for their Title II NFA firearms. The problem that New Hampshire trusts and estates lawyers are trying to help plan around involves a testamentary bequest (a transfer of personal property to a person at death under the terms of a person’s will) of NFA Title II weapons to designated heir(s). Any transfers of these highly regulated weapons could create a nightmarish scenario and trigger (no pun intended!) possible criminal implications for the heirs/executors of the estate. A properly implemented NFA Trust can help to avoid these problems.
By way of background, NFA firearms include: machine guns, suppressors, short-barreled shotguns (sawed-off shotguns), and “destructive devices”. The most common NFA weapon is the machine gun. The NFA requires that Title II firearms have more restrictive procedures for sale, transfer, use and possession. The Transfer of a Title II firearm to an individual can be an administratively complex process for gun owners and their executors and heirs. The improper transfer of these weapons can result in significant fines and jail time and the forfeiture of the firearms in question. Additionally, managing the administrative steps necessary to transfer these weapons is even more complicated after the death or incapacity of the owner. A properly drafted NFA Trust can be an important part of the Title II gun owners overall estate plan. With a properly drafted NFA Trust the owner and his successors can more easily notify and work with the proper local authorities to obtain the appropriate law enforcement certification, file the appropriate forms, pay applicable transfer fees and more easily manage the testamentary or lifetime transfer process for these highly regulated weapons.”