Guns after Death

With Florida Estate Planning it is important to consider the effects of a gun on the probate process.
Neil E. Hendershot a Professor at Widener University School of Law in Harrisburg and author or PA Elder, Estate & Fiduciary Law Blog, had a Student submit an article regarding the possession and use by elderly persons of firearms. The article has a great title “I Bequeath my machine gun to . . .”

Jacksonville, Ponte Vedra Beach, Silencer, Machine Gun, PVB, Beach, FloridaAfter reading this article, it is even more apparent that one who owns Title II Firearms (sold by Class 3 SOT dealers), needs to be conscious of the effect of their demise on their Personal Representative and/or heirs.

Uncertainty in proper disposition of such a firearm could lead to one’s client being convicted of possession of an unregistered firearm, punishable by up to 10 years, $250,000 in fines and the forfeiture of the weapon and any “vessel, vehicle, or aircraft” used to conceal or convey the firearm.

This article discusses the process of determining if and to whom a firearms is registered. What to do with an unregistered firearm, the preferred procedures for the destruction of specific machine guns. The benefit of destruction compared to turning them in. ( The parts are valuable, and the ban may be lifted one day).

No matter what state you are in, if you or someone you know has a Machine Gun, or other weapon regulated by the National Firearms Act (NFA), they should speak to an Estate Planning Attorney or Florida Probate Attorney who is familiar with the Act to protect their estate, Personal Representatives, Trustees, and Beneficiaries from the penalties associates with the wrongful possession or transfer of a weapon in violation of the NFA.

A Florida NFA (Gun / Firearms) Revocable Trust may be the solution for you.

On September 13, 2007, Professor Gerry Beyer posted an entry on the Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog, which he edits, entitled “Dead People With Guns“, referencing this post: One of the growing estate planning niches is preparing for the death of gun owners and handling the estates of gun owners.

Here are two sites which have detailed information about the issues and the solutions:

  • Neil E. Hendershot, “I bequeath my machine gun to . . .” , PA Elder, Estate & Fiduciary Law Blog, Sept. 12, 2007: * * *
  • David M. Goldman, Florida Gun Trusts or National Firearms Trust , Florida Estate Planning Lawyer Blog, July 30, 2007, National Firearms Gun Trust: * * *
  • The second site discusses the legal tool of a “Firearms Trust” (or “Gun Trust“), which provides special powers to a trustee not normally considered or granted, to carry out specified purposes of maintenance & disposition of weapons.

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