Can’t I just use the gun dealer’s gun trust or create one online?
Absolutely! The ATF doesn’t concern itself with the quality of your gun trust. They aren’t lawyers, and they really don’t care whether your trust will work the way you think it will if you become incapacitated, lose your firearm ownership privileges, or die. As long as the basic info looks good, and everything else is in order, you’ll get your stamp.
But, if you care about what happens AFTER you get your stamp, you might want to consider establishing a personal relationship with a Florida gun trust attorney – especially one who shares your passion and thoroughly understands how your gun trust works and how it fits into your overall estate plan.
We’ve all seen the advice and “wisdom” offered on various gun forums, where someone claims, “No one needs an attorney to do a gun trust. I did mine using XXXX for $29 and the ATF approved me – no problem! Lawyers just want to scare you so you’ll use their services instead.”
Well, as we’ve already pointed out, the ATF can’t tell the difference between a $29 gun trust and a $2900 gun trust – except that one likely has more pages. As long as all your ducks appear to be in a row, you’ll eventually get your stamp. Hooray!
As for lawyers scaring people – well, sadly, that’s kind of our job. We have to think about all the bad things that could possibly happen so we can try to protect you from them.
So, what happens if you use that gun trust software, happily acquire a couple of suppressors, and eventually discover that your trust isn’t valid in Florida due to some technicality or error?
You’d likely be in violation of state and federal laws for illegal receipt and possession of NFA weapons and maybe even tax evasion since you, as an individual, didn’t pay the tax – the trustee of a nonexistent trust did.
Even worse, what if the trust’s invalidity wasn’t discovered until you had died and your wife was applying to the ATF for approval to transfer the suppressors to your sons? Can you say “accidental felony” and confiscation?
Yes, those are worst-case scenarios. And maybe nothing would happen if “just this one time” you looked down the barrel of a loaded weapon. Or carried your .45 with your finger on the trigger. Or bought a $29 gun trust. Who knows?
But sometimes having a real person to talk to can prevent potential problems down the road.