Keeping Your Personal Representative or Executor Out of Jail
If you own firearms, you should reevaluate the trustees, successor trustees and beneficiaries in any estate planning documents. It is important to avoid people who are prohibited people from owning or being in possession of firearms and ammunition.
Many people do not even know that they may be a prohibited person. There is not an easy way to determine if someone named in your documents is a prohibited person or not without asking them a bunch of questions. In addition, certain items you may own may be illegal in some states and even if the person is not prohibited, it may be a crime for them to take these items to a location where they are prohibited.
If you own any firearms, you need to be careful to avoid potentially serious problems with your family and friends.
Under Federal Law the mere possession of any type of firearm or ammunition by a “prohibited person” is a crime. There is no exception for Executors, Personal Representatives, or Trustees. Upon accepting his or her appointment, an Executor, Personal Representative, or Trustee may become a criminal. The Federal Statutes contain a long list of things that make someone a prohibited person including: conviction in any court of a crime punishable by more than a year in prison; being an unlawful drug user (even if legal in the state); having been discharged from the Armed Forces under dishonorable conditions and having been convicted of a misdemeanor where the charge was one involving domestic violence.
NFA Firearms are sold by Class 3 SOT dealers and include machine guns, short-barreled rifles and shotguns, Suppressors, AOWs and certain other items are subject to the National Firearms Act. Even deactivated war trophies can still be under the NFA. The mere possession of these items by anyone not having the appropriate documentation (not just convicted criminals) is a federal crime. Ignorance of the law is not a defense.
Without proper authorization and documentation to be in possession of these items makes them contraband and is a crime. In many states possession of regular “Assault Weapons” is a crime and can subject you to criminal prosecution.
If you own firearms, it is important to review your estate planning documents with a Gun Trust Lawyer® to help ensure that they are dealt with properly in the event of your death or disability. Many traditional trusts or wills instruct your family and friends to take actions that are illegal when it comes to the possession and transfer of firearms.