This is a topic that I have been looking into when the inevitable finally happens when we check out of this place called life. I have heard of the benefits of a Living Will as well as the benefits of a Trust, if you don’t have a basic Will you are just wrong and the Probate Court will decide what happen to all your STUFF.
Specifically on the topic of Firearms (and / or NFA type weapons if applicable) which device is the preferred option to ensure that your prized possessions don’t end up in a state chop shop?
Work with a specialist defining your Trust and establishing three choices of Trust managers in case you become unable to choose/care/decide for yourself. Put everything in it and have your wages go to an account named in the Trust. Then disburse from the Trust account for your monthlies and purchases. After you start this, remember to update it regularly as things change quicker than you may think. ESPECIALLY keep an eye on who is still alive able willing to manage your Trust should you reach the point you can not. The hard part, I have found, is who do you name to manage when all your family and old or close friends have gone on themselves?
Here is a brief explanation.
A living will or a medical directive (and other various names) is used to give your desires if you are unable to make medical decisions on your own. It usually includes what your wishes are for things such as feeding tubes and life support machines and can designate one or more health care surrogates who can make those decisions for you.
A will is a document that is used to give away your property when you die. If you do not have a will, the intestacy law of the state of residence or where the property is located will apply and is also subject to dower/curtsy for distribution to spouses and heirs.
A trust is a legal device where ownership of property is placed in the trust and the trustee manages that property.
With this background, living wills would not have any bearing on ownership, transfer or possession of firearms. So the real question is whether you transfer firearms by will or by trust. I will first say that if your value is $1,000,000 or more, you need to have a trust. It gives the most control both before and after death. However, trusts are expensive and are legally very technical. Whenever i am approached for something that is going to require a trust, I always refer them to someone who practices primarily in that area.
Which means for most of us, transferring property by will is usually the best way to do so. It is inexpensive and, for most property, is very simple. In the majority of states, transfer of a firearm to a family member by will is not an issue. For those states like Illinois, it can still be done but is probably best to be done through an FFL so no local laws are broken, especially if it is an interstate transfer.
If you have any NFA regulated property, then a trust, more specifically a gun trust, would be the most appropriate device. I am familiar with gun trusts, but not well versed on them and would not attempt to draft one without partnering with someone who has done them in practice.
Could you expound on this? My FIL just had EVERYTHING put into a trust but he is not the most verbal of people especially when it comes to $$$. Since I am married to his only daughter I don’t want to give a bad impression by asking questions about it. I was, probably under the misguided impression that a trust could be opened for $1 (plus lawyer fees) and you just start adding things to the trust. How does that REALLY work?
There was also commentary by a “Gun Trust Lawyer” that you referred me to when I first got here that utilized a “rider”, “addendum” or some other legal term so that say firearms did not have to be enumerated in the trust but were in a separate changeable list.