Frequently Asked Questions

  • Why should I get a gun trust?

    Gun trusts are a separate legal entity that hold firearms on your behalf, providing several advantages:

    • No filing fees or annual fees.
    • No filing with government agencies other than when applying for a BATFE tax stamp.
    • All trustees have the ability to possess and use the weapons in the trust.
    • Allow beneficiaries to inherit your assets without going through probate.
  • Do I have to file a copy of my gun trust with my state?

    No. Only the BATFE is aware of the trust when you submit a Form 1 or Form 4.

  • Will my trust appear in a law enforcement database?

    No. The only government agency that will have record of your gun trust is the BATFE.

  • Do I have to submit any annual reports or pay any annual fees to keep my trust active?

    No. There are no ongoing costs associated with having a trust.

  • Why should I use a gun trust over a corporation or LLC?

    Corporations and LLCs have several disadvantages compared to trusts. Business entities are:

    • not private. Information about a business's members is contained in public records.
    • subject to annual state fees and entity maintenance costs.
    • often required to file sales tax and income tax returns.
    • at risk of their members misusing their assets. Each manager of a corporation or LLC can purchase firearms and subject the entire business to the penalties of violating the NFA.
    • not equipped to deal with death or incapacitation.
    • difficult to modify. The secretary of state must to be updated with any changes to the company's management. This can cost money and take a substantial amount of time to complete. To make a change to an NFA gun trust, one simply amends the trust to change who can use, purchase, or possess the firearms without risk of criminal liability for violating the NFA.
  • Can I let others use the NFA weapons in my trust?

    Yes. Our trust contains the necessary documents for adding and removing trustees. Any trustee can legally possess and use the trust's firearms. Trustees can be added or removed at any time, and there is no limit to the number of trustees.

  • What if I become incapacitated?

    The trust's documents contain specific language to deal with the trustor's death or incapacitation.

  • Who can I assign to be a beneficiary of my trust?

    Anyone, including minors, may be a beneficiary of the trust. In the case that a minor is a beneficiary, the trust is designed to hold and manage the assets until the beneficiary reaches the required age.

  • Do gun trusts improve BATFE approval time?

    Yes. The standard approval process of submitting NFA Form 1 or Form 4 to the ATF can take months. For more information on ATF approval time, consult nfatracker.com.

  • If I already own an NFA weapon that I wish to transfer into the trust, may I transfer it without paying an additional transfer tax?

    No.

  • What is a trustee?

    Trustees are people who can act on behalf of the trust. They may possess and operate the trust's firearms, manage the trust's assets, as well as appoint or remove trustees. A trustee must be eighteen years of age to possess items regulated by the National Firearms Act.

  • What is a beneficiary?

    Beneficiaries are people who will ultimately receive ownership of the trust's assets.

  • What is a successor?

    The trust's successor replaces the original trustor upon his death or incapacitation, and is responsible for transfering ownership of the trust's assets to the beneficiaries.

  • What should I name my trust?

    Anything you want. However, it is probably a good idea to keep the name short, relevant, and easily identifiable.

  • Which ATF forms do I need?

    The ATF requires you to submit applications for manufacturing, transferring, and transporting firearms.

    • Form 1 - Firearm Manufacturing
    • Form 4 - Firearm Transfer
    • Form 5 - Tax Exempt Firearm Transfer
    • Form 20 - Interstate Transport
    • Form 23 - Responsible Person Questionnaire
    • FD-258 - Fingerprint Cards

    The most common forms you will need when operating your trust will be Form 4, Form 23, and FD-258. For more information about ATF forms, visit our ATF Forms Page.

  • What if I move?

    If you're moving within your current state, you are required to fill out Form 20 to notify the ATF of your firearm's change of address.

    If you move to a new state, you should first determine if your weapons are legal in that state, then you are required to fill out a Form 20 to notify the ATF of the change of address of the weapons.

    Most states will recognize your gun trust even if you opened it in a different state; the one exception being the state of Maine which does not recognize any trust created out of state.

    This form should be filled out in duplicate and both copies submitted to:

    BATFE
    Attention: NFA Branch
    244 Needy Road
    Martinsburg, WV 25405

  • What is the process of transferring an NFA weapon into my trust?

    1. Fill out Form 4.
    2. Create a complete copy of your gun trust.
    3. Complete two FD-258 fingerprint cards for each responsible person.
    4. Obtain a 2X2-inch photograph taken within the last year for each responsible person.
    5. Fill out a Form 5320.23 for each responsible person.
    6. Create a check or money order (payable to "Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives") for $200.00.
    7. Place all of the above items into an envelope and send them to the following address:

      National Firearms Act Branch
      Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives
      P.O. Box 530298
      Atlanta, GA 30353-0298


    8. Finally, have each responsible person submit a copy of their Form 5320.23 to their CLEO.
  • Can I submit ATF forms online?

    It depends. As of this writing, the ATF EForm website only provides EForms for Form 6 (used by FFL holders who wish to import firearms into the US), Form 1 (for manufacturing an NFA weapon), Form 2 (for FFL holders registering manufactured NFA firearms), Form 5 (for a tax-exempt firearm transfer), Form 9 (for FFL holders exporting NFA weapons), and ATF 5300.11 (for an FFL holder's yearly report of their manufacturing and export activity).

    Unfortunately, Form 4 (the form you would use to transfer an NFA firearm into your trust) is not currently available as an EForm.

  • How do I possess or use an NFA weapon in my trust?

    You will need two items: the trust and the tax stamp. The trust will identify you as a trustee, and the tax stamp will show that the BATFE approved of the trust.

  • What firearms can I hold in my gun trust?

    Any that your state will allow. A gun trust does not expand your ability to own restricted firearms. Instead, it provides a convenient legal entity which owns them on your behalf.

  • Is there a difference between using an attorney and using Gun Trust Depot?

    Our documents are very similar to the documents you could get from a lawyer or other legal service. Gun Trust Depot does not provide legal advice, so if your trust has special requirements, or you need additional consultation, we suggest that you contact a lawyer in your area.

  • If I were to use an attorney to create my trust, would they be responsible if something were to go wrong?

    Ultimately, you are responsible for your gun trust. You may hold your attorney accountable for providing poor legal advice, but you would still be liable for any problems that may arise. While many lawyers carry malpractice insurance, the law sees the trustor as the responsible party regardless of how it was formed.

  • Are your trusts state-specific?

    No. Most states have either adopted or mimicked The Uniform Trust Code. This makes trust laws very similar. While there are minor differences between states, our documents conform to the most stringent regulations.

  • Are documents provided to add items to my trust?

    Yes. The assignment Forms are provided for that purpose.

  • Why doesn't your trust provide a Schedule "A"?

    Our trust includes assignment forms which provide much the same function. To learn more about the differences between a Schedule "A" and assignment forms, click here. If you would like to have a schedule "A" instead, please contact us.

  • How do I complete my trust?

    A signature and notarization is all that's required to make your trust official and ready to use. Your trust document must be signed by you and all of your co-trustees and acknowledged by a notary. Depending on your state, the notarization process may need be witnessed by one or more parties.

    A witness is any party that can impartially observe the notarization of your trust.

  • Where can I find a notary?

    Many banks and UPS stores often offer notary services. Most notarizations are not very expensive (about $10), but the price will vary depending on your state and notary. You can find notaries in your area by visiting Notary123's Find a Notary page.

  • I know I need to sign the trust in front of a notary to finalize it, but do any of the trustees need to be there too?

    It depends on your state. In some states, all of the trust's initial trustees (trustees that were added during its creation), must be present to sign. To be safe, we recommend that all of the initial trustees be present for the trust's signing.

  • Does your trust provide asset protection from creditors, lawsuits, or bankruptcy?

    Yes, our trust specifically states that beneficiaries are not liable for debts, other obligations, or legal processes initiated by creditors.

  • What are curio and relics?

    A curio and relic firearm is one that falls into at least one of the following categories:

    • A firearm that was manufactured at least 50 years prior to the current date.
    • A firearm that has been certified by the curator of a municipal, state, or federal museum.
    • A firearm that derives a substantial portion of its value from its unusual qualities or association with a historical event, period, or figure.

    Learn more about curio and relic firearms on atf.gov.

  • Is your trust revocable?

    Yes, all of our gun trusts are revocable, and they all become irrevocable upon the death or incapacitation of the settlor.

    This simply means that our trusts can be amended or changed at any time by the person who set the trust up (the settlor), but should the settlor die or become incapacitated, the trust may no longer be modified

  • I already have another trust. Can I have a gun trust too?

    It is certainly possible to have more than one trust, particularly if the trusts have different purposes: you may want to keep the assets in your existing trust separate from the assets in a gun trust. The gun trust will have extra provisions that are specific to the handling of firearms / NFA items, so it is a good idea to have a separate trust for such a purpose.

  • Do I need to obtain an EIN for my trust?

    In short, no. Revocable trusts normally use the social security number of the trustor for taxation purposes. This means that all trust income (if any) is reported on the trustor's income taxes. When the trustor dies and the trust becomes irrevocable, the IRS requires the trust to have its own tax ID number.

    The IRS requires all irrevocable trusts to use their own EINs for tax purposes. If the trustor of a living revocable trust obtains an EIN for the trust before he dies, a new EIN for the trust will still need to be created once the trust becomes irrevocable.

    Click here for more information.

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