While many dealers provide Trusts and help clients fill our Trust Documents ( a violation of law in most states), this was the first time I had run across a Manufacture of Title II firearms who was providing trusts to clients. This Trust was not being completed by the Class 3 manufacture, but was a Fill in the blank form that was supplied by a silencer manufacture. It had a place to print your name, date, pick successor trustee’s and sign. There was no place to witness ( a requirement in many states). While the trust appeared to be better than some forms we have seen, it will missing some of the schedules. The main schedule that was missing was the Schedule of Beneficiaries. It was not evident that one was necessary and as such the trusts we were reviewing did not contain them.
As we have discussed before, a beneficiary is an essential element to a trust and in most cases the failure to include a beneficiary who is different from the creator will cause a trust to be invalid.
This trust, as with many Quicken or Legal Zoom trusts failed to address the firearms and the many unique issues that arise when dealing with Firearms. If a valid trust would have been created, it could have transferred a bank account, chair, picture on the wall, or most any item without problem, but would have not been a good idea to use for a firearm.
In addition, because of the way the trust was structured, there was no way to include provisions to protect a spouse or other person who you would want to have access, use, or purchase their own NFA (Title II Firearm).
While the last gun dealer who was supplying invalid trusts was quick to respond, this manufacture seemed to take the attitude that it was the individuals responsibility to make sure they did the right thing, and that the form they supplied was not to be used, just a sample that they could start with.
When I suggested that the correct the form to at least allow their customers to make a valid trust, there was little interests and I would bet that nothing changes.
Remember just because the ATF approves a transfer to a trust, it does not mean your trust is valid, nor that you are legally able to possess the firearm. All it means is that if the trust is legal (which they do not guarantee) you can be in possession.
If you received your trust from a dealer, found it online, or tried to create a valid trust with legal zoom or quicken and would like it evaluated under your personal circumstances for validity and potential issues with the NFA and future transfers, Contact a NFA Trust Lawyer or Gun Trust Lawyer® to review your trust.