For People with Firearms: A Look into Gun Trusts in Estate Planning

If you own any firearms, one of the questions you’ll need to address is how to include them legally in your estate.

You might have only one or two guns, or maybe it’s a larger collection. Regardless, there are legal issues with transferring these to your beneficiaries in the event of your incapacitation or death. For example, you might have beneficiaries who can’t legally own or operate firearms. But even if they are eligible, there are still restrictions and a transfer process that need attention and care. You or your beneficiaries could face serious criminal charges if you don’t account for the legal issues.

The role of gun trusts

As discussed in a recent article from Investment News, gun trusts can facilitate the legal transfer of firearms from one individual to another (they might also make the process of purchasing firearms go a little more smoothly, as the trust itself can serve as the entity that buys the firearms). By using the trust, you often don’t need as much paperwork or as many steps towards making the transfer from one gun owner to another.

When it comes to establishing a gun trust, you need to work with attorneys who understand estate law and the relevant state and federal laws for gun ownership, transfers, and sales. For example, even if you live in Texas, you might want to leave one of your guns to a family member who lives in Oregon or Utah. What are the legalities of transferring a gun across state lines? What are the gun laws for those states? (For instance, are certain types of firearms and ammunition illegal in another state?)

The trust document itself can lay out specific guidelines and restrictions for trustees and beneficiaries, so that they’re less likely to accidentally break the law.

Another important point from the Investment News article is that even if you decide not to transfer your firearms, you can make provisions in a trust for their legal sale, with the money going to your beneficiaries.

If you have any questions about this issue, don’t hesitate to contact us. With legal guidance, you can make informed decisions about what to do with your firearms while complying with all the legalities.

Francesca Hilton Passes Away

Francesca Hilton died at the age of 67 on January 6, 2015.  Francesca was the only child of well-known actress Zsa Zsa Gabor and hotel magnate, Conrad Hilton.  Francesca had fallen on hard times prior to her death, living in her car from time to time in and around Los Angeles, California.

Francesca had sought financial relief from her mother, however Zsa Zsa is currently under a guardianship and unable to make such decisions.  Prinz von Anhalt, Francesca’s step-father and Zsa Zsa’s current spouse, is the Court-appointed Guardian and cannot use any of Zsa Zsa’s money  to support Francesca.  In an effort to support herself, Francesca had been working on a book and her  long-time publicist was hoping for a book deal.

Francesca’s predicament raises a key issue that many should consider.  When parents become incapacitated and a guardianship is created, they cannot continue to support their children in any form.  The guardianship process is overseen by the Court to ensure that all of the guardianship assets are used to support the incapacitated person.  Even if a child or other family member demonstrates a pattern of support from the incapacitated person, the Court will not allow those assets to be given to the child or family member.

If you or someone you know have questions concerning guardianship or the guardianship process contact the experienced attorneys at Ford + Bergner LLP today.

Have You Updated Your Will Lately?

No one ever likes to think about his or her death and what it will do to the family. As devastating as the topic is, you still need to consider everything that could  happen whenever that time comes. When you think about everything that may occur, you should consider putting a will together. You will want the right people in charge of your personal belongings, finances, and other assets when that time does come.

When you update your will on a regular basis, you are ensuring yourself and your family that everything will be accounted for. All of your wishes will also be carried out when your family knows you have a will. When you have your will prepared by a professional, this ensures that your family members will be protected from having any burdens or difficulties when it comes to your finances.

Here are some things to consider when you are preparing to draft a will or update it regularly:

Consult With An Attorney 

  • It can certainly be overwhelming and challenging when you are considering writing a will. When things are a bit overwhelming people tend to put those things on hold and say they will wait until a later time. However, creating will should not be put on hold. In this case, it will be better for you to team up with an attorney. An attorney can be by your side through the entire process, and he or she will make sure every part of your will is accurate and complete.

Make Sure Everything Is Accurate And Updated

  • Make sure you have listed any valuables and assets that you plan to leave behind. Throughout the years, if you acquire additional assets, make sure you remember to update that list. You should also make sure you have a good idea of what those valuables are worth. Whenever you buy additional property, acquire additional finances, or buy insurance coverage, continue to update the list as necessary.

Whenever there is a significant change in your life, you should make changes to your will.  An attorney can provide you with the resources and tools you need in order to have a will that will make things easier on your family. Contact us when you need assistance or advice.

Have You Considered Estate Planning Being One Of Your Goals For The New Year?

The start of a new years is always a good time to take a good look at your estate planning documents. You should review these documents to make sure everything is planned according to your wishes.

Your goals and wishes for your estate planning can change over the years. Several personal reasons, such as the addition of a new child or grandchild, divorce, marriage, death or injury can affect your estate planning for the new year. When you review your estate planning documents, you should consider more than just the property you own and the assets you own, but you should also consider the people who those assets will be distributed among.

You may not want to consider planning for death at the beginning of the new year, but it is better to plan ahead or update your old estate planning documents before it is too late. You should make these documents, if you consider yourself to be youthful and even if you think that you do not have enough assets and property to leave a will. Everyone who has children, assets, and property of any type of value should have estate planning documents stored somewhere.

Creating your estate plan will give clear information to your family members on what you want to happen with your things. If a will is not left, all of your property could be passed over according to your state law. A will is of significant value and importance when a person needs someone to watch over their children and care for them until they are old enough to care for themselves. Sometimes these documents are put on hold because parents do not want to think about leaving their children to be cared for someone else.

It is unbearable for a parent to think about this, but it is necessary for your children to be cared for properly. If you do not have documents that outline what you want to happen to your children, the court can make decisions on who will care for their children, even if you have asked a friend or family member to step in.

People have different resolutions and goals for the new year, but have you considered making estate planning one of those goals? If you need assistance with your estate plans, contact us.