LEDFORD & ASSOCIATES

FIREARM INHERITANCE PROTECTION

firearm-inheritance-protection

In Michigan, through the provisions of SB 225, it is recognized that firearms can have monetary and sentimental value and should be protected from government confiscation, if otherwise lawfully bequeathed or passed through intestate succession.

However, under new rules being pushed nationally, it has been indicated that  the rule making process may change 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.

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.