Under new rules being pushed by the Obama administration, the "Social Security Administration has indicated that it will begin the rulemaking process to include information in the background check system about beneficiaries who are prohibited from possessing a firearm for mental health reasons." In short, this means that anyone the Social Security Administration determines to be "mentally incompetent" will be targeted for firearm confiscation. These rules, in a recently published regulation, already apply to family doctors, such that if your doctor determines that you are "mentally ill," your doctor will be required to report that finding to federal authorities, and you will be ineligible to possess firearms. "Mental illness" is a very broad category and can, rightfully, include people who have such a significant disease that they most certainly shouldn't possess firearms. However, the definition can also include people who may be under a minor or temporary situation, such as post-partum, job related stress, and sadness related to family tragedy. Not all mental illness is created equal. Nevertheless, you could be targeted for confiscation of certain items of your personal property.

Given the direction the Obama administration is going with its gun control efforts, firearms and other items that may have been otherwise protected as cherished family heirlooms, will be swept within the regulatory coverage. It appears that at present, perhaps the only remedy to prevent the confiscation of your firearms as you grow older, and of those possessed by your elderly family members, is to transfer them to a trust, so that, should you, or your elderly family member, fall under one of these rules, a successor trustee would be able to take the firearms into the trustee's possession, protecting them for inheritance purposes, and preventing their confiscation by federal and/or state authorities.

Not only do we prepare trusts for Class III items (also referred to as "NFA Trusts"), but we prepare trusts for the protection of assets. With the new gun control regulations, these estate planning efforts will need to address your personal firearm gift planning as well.