If you are a gun owner and have talked to other gun owners, this might have come up in a conversation, “It’s just a document put together to legally allow you to give your guns to other people or let them shoot them when they are with you.” While the end result of having a legal document might be true, the rest may end you up in jail.
We aren’t a law firm, nor do we dispense legal advice (it’s in our disclaimer), but we are connected to thousands of attorneys around the country in every state. That gives us a bit of insight into what they all see when it comes to gun law and specifically Gun Trusts. Think of this as something akin to an iceberg…what you see above the water might look small and simple, but what’s underneath is massive and complex. That’s what goes on with a well-orchestrated Gun Trust.
If you only looked at a finished Gun Trust document, they might look similar in some ways. But like the iceberg, there are many hidden features of a “well-written” gun trust that will be accepted by the BATFE. While it might not be readily evident to a non-attorney, there are subtleties that could be missing which will cause it to be rejected. And when it is rejected, it has to be redone and resubmitted…all of which can take months of time.
The other area that is “beneath the surface” of the final document is what went into the preparation of the gun trust. How much time was spent understanding the person’s individual and family needs before constructing the trust? Just like in estate planning, you can buy documents online and fill them out but you have no idea if they really fit your needs or those of your family today and into the future. A gun trust is similar…if your individual needs aren’t incorporated into the document, you might end up with something that doesn’t work either today or into the future.
Another way to think of it is in terms of a custom made suit. You could buy one off the rack that is too long in the sleeves, too tight around the waist, the pants are too big, and the legs are too long. It would fit but it really doesn’t work for your situation. That is the same situation with having a Gun Trust constructed that meets your individual needs and one that is simply a “one-size fits all” document.
So as a group who sees and interacts with many gun owners, we would highly recommend getting an “attorney built” gun trust to ensure that it fits your needs and desires of your family. A standard document from a gun shop, dealer, or even a firm that just cranks out documents probably won’t meet your real needs and may get rejected. Invest a little bit of time and spend a little bit more money and get something knowing it is the suit that fits and you have addressed the big iceberg of issues under the surface of the water. Guaranteed you will sleep better at night!