I've heard a lot about the benefits of having a gun trust, I see all the ways that having the trust makes things easier. I just am unclear about how the process happens after you set up the trust. If you currently don't own any nfa firearms, and you set up a nfa trust, do you have to have the trust approved separately before making a purchase? or do you make a purchase and then register the purchase with BATFE through the trust? Just a little confused about the actual process involved. Thanks
You can fund the trust with anything. In fact, it makes sense to fund the trust with cash, because to do everything right, you need to buy NFA firearms with trust money, not your personal money. That involves setting up an extra bank account in the name of the trust, for starters. The "approval" part of the trust is just that it must comply with all MI law for creating a trust. When you go to buy, the trust itself is the owner on all of the form.
There are some advantages to having a gun trust, but they are not the be-all, end-all of owning NFA firearms. The biggest short term advantage is that they allow you to avoid getting a CLEO signature. However, even that may be changing . The ATF is considering requiring CLEO signatures for all trustees of gun trusts, which would undo the main benefit - and that could happen as soon as May 2015. Run a google search on "ATF 41p". Even worse, an improperly drafted trust can create more problems than it is worth.
I'm not going to pretend that I'm qualified to draft an NFA gun trust, because I'm not (despite knowing more about them than 90% of other attorneys I've met), and I would go out on a limb and say there is a very limited number of attorneys in Michigan who are. Stick with an experienced wills and trusts attorney, even if he or she isn't a "gun guy." Be very, very careful who you trust to advise you if you choose to go the gun trust route, and please, do not go with one of those companies that charges you $500 for forms you could probably locate and copy yourself.
I am licensed to practice law in Michigan, however, the answers provided are for informational purposes only, are not intended as legal advice, and do not form an attorney-client relationship. I make no representations or guarantees of any kind regarding the accuracy of this information.
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