Gun Trusts, Any experience


January 22, 2012, 03:30 PM
Hi all -

I wanted to purchase a suppressor for added hearing protection (AR). My ears ring after a day at the range and while I cannot prevent those around me from shooting, I do want to limit the amount of decibels in my immediate lane. I wear very nice ear protection as it is, but for some reason, it still creates a slight ringing afterwards.

There are a few ways to obtain title II weapons here in TX, but from what I have heard from other members at the range is the best way to go about getting said suppressor is to do a gun trust - legally that is. And I do not want the middle of the night knock at the door by the local pd demanding entry for an unregistered item.

So, who has any experience in the setup and eventual purchase of title II items? Any suggestions to help smooth out the process? and how long did it take for the item to be in your possession (legally)?

Thanks - Eddie

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January 22, 2012, 07:05 PM
I did my trust with Quicken Willmaker, works fine for me. You can hire an attorney to do it if you are worried about doing it yourself.

I've transferred 3 items with the trust(AOW and 2 Suppressors) with no problems.

First two took 3 months, last one 5 months. Current times are running around 6 months.

Rat Robb
January 22, 2012, 07:26 PM
I was actually reading about this today in a magazine and was really interested about communicating with someone who has done this.

One question I have is when you set up your trust, does one transfer all of their guns to the trust or just the things that need $200 stamps?


January 22, 2012, 07:41 PM

Sean Cody did mine. Can't recomend him enough. When I get a new NFA item I just add it on to my schedule A. He will email it to you, or send you a hard copy. I think its $350ish. Worth the money for piece of mind, to have a attorney back up.

January 22, 2012, 08:53 PM
ok thanks guys. I was looking into Sean as well. From what I have read, the need to have something in the trust to make it 'legit'. well 2 months doesnt sound too bad. I will contact Sean this next week and go from there. Thanks a bunch

January 23, 2012, 01:57 PM
Sean also did mine and 27 stamps later, it's never been second guessed by TPTB.

January 24, 2012, 09:28 PM
Sean did mine also, one of the best out there. He post regularly over at Texas Gun Talk. Definitely not something I would trust a computer program to do correctly.

January 25, 2012, 03:35 PM
I am just starting into Class 3 (NFA) for retail as well as myself later down the road. During my research at least 8 of the 10 owners of Class 3 (NFA) items went with trusts and 7 of those got their trusts from Sean Cody. All those recommended the trust and also Sean Cody. He has a website which helps the "newbee's" like me understand the process. The trust was recommended as the individual was not subject to the political whims of the Chief Law Enforcement Officer who has to sign off on the application. Check out the website that is posted in post #4. Very informative.

January 25, 2012, 03:48 PM
You will also notice one thing, newbies refer to these items as "Class 3". Those in the know and have done their research know that the proper terminology is NFA Items.

January 26, 2012, 10:27 PM
I did mine in issues...I for one won't be paying someone to set up a trust.

January 27, 2012, 05:33 PM
You can hire an attorney to do it if you are worried about doing it yourself.

Still no guarantee. Had a lawyer do my trust, no problems on the first two transfers. The third examiner didn't like the wording in one place and declared problem. I'll be talking to the lawyer once I get the forms back from the examiner to get it fixed. :(

The BATFE people on the phone were very nice and responsive, even called me back as promised. I just wish they'd let me know instead of waiting for me to call them! (problem flagged in November)

January 27, 2012, 06:30 PM
For goodness sake, have a lawyer draft a legal document.

January 30, 2012, 11:27 AM
I paid a lawyer $300 to set mine up. Money well spent IMO. He said I could contact him at any time for the rest of my life if I needed to modify it in any way. He also said if I ever had a problem with it and ended up in some kind of legal bind he would represent me at no cost.

I mean what if they found a flaw in your trust and pursued legal action against you... That's 10 years in jail and $250,000 penalty for each violation (so each tax stamp you "illegally obtained" with a trust that wasn't 100% done properly)

I would rather spend a few hundred dollars and have peace of mind rather than trusting some internet computer program.

January 30, 2012, 12:29 PM
I mean what if they found a flaw in your trust and pursued legal action against you... That's 10 years in jail and $250,000 penalty for each violation (so each tax stamp you "illegally obtained" with a trust that wasn't 100% done properly)

You must be an attorney because they are the only ones I have ever seen using these scare tactics......

Unless you completely do something fraudulent the worst thing that will happen is you will amend or change your "revocable living trust". The only NFA specific language I have ever heard was something to the affect of allowing the use of the items in the trust, because a trust says you must not degrade the value of the items.

Also a thing to ask your attorney is how many people have ever been charged for their Trust not being done "correctly", I'm pretty sure the number is very small. I'd be anyone that actually gets in trouble for a Trust is already in legal trouble to start with.

$300 is a good deal for a trust, but it's also a way that the attorney is generating a lot of money.

January 31, 2012, 02:10 PM
No dog in this fight, and I'm not an attorney, but attorneys ARE experts in law, and they DO make their money by making things like trusts, wills, deeds, etc. That's their business, and I would hope they know a lot more about that than I do.

Personally, I would NOT use an internet program to make a trust for my peace of mind. YMMV.
January 31, 2012, 04:30 PM
Other than LEO signoff issues, what other reasons would you want to use a trust for? My 1 and only NFA item I did without going the trust route. Why should I spend several hundred dollars to set one up now?

Walther P99
January 31, 2012, 05:03 PM How did you get your NFA weapon? Corp or CLEO? My county CLEO doesn't sign a Form 4 so a trust looks like the most efficient..

January 31, 2012, 05:20 PM
wear ear plugs under the muffs

January 31, 2012, 06:32 PM
Definitely get a lawyer that is very familiar with NFA trusts. I went to a place called NW Gunlaw Group in WA. You'll want to find one local for you, and I think it is better to go to the actual lawyer than use one in another state and then see a proxy or whatever. They (there were a few lawyers there in a board room with me actually) were very knowledgeable, the one that actually did it started the business because he was a lawyer and a gun nut and saw a niche.

My trust is a binder that has all the laws and a bunch of legalese along with the trust documents, and it doesn't look at all like something you could do yourself without the know how --the game is rigged with this BS for a reason, so you have to pay lawyers. Anyway, it cost $500 and that is all applicable to a full estate plan later. There was a stripped down one for $250, I think that was just for buying NFA items legally, but the one I have has me and my wife both as trustees and I can leave stuff to people and actually name them as beneficiaries and loan stuff to them or let people use stuff at the range without putting myself in jeopardy. It is just a good thing all around to have if you are into firearms, and especially if you have NFA items.

See, when I die, my wife doesn't have to do anything --she already owns it too in a way. If we both die, it goes to a friend that will appreciate that stuff (while the rest of the property goes to family --the trust works outside a will) and all he has to do is get a trust himself and have our stuff transferred to him.

As for ease of purchase, all you do is fill out the forms, include a copy of the trust agreement, then wait. Then you go pick it up. If you let anyone use it, name them in the trust like you are supposed to do (then revoke them later) and it won't be an illegal transfer. I know, a bunch of paperwerk nazi BS, but better than prison.

Anyway you look at it, the $500 is worth it if you plan on getting more than one suppressor or NFA item just to cut the hassle and make it easier on your family when you die, because the NFA trust does stuff a will or property trust can't. I can't recommend it enough, and I don't like lawyers. Can't wait on this SDN6 either, and that S&H integrally suppressed Mk3 will be easy as pie to get. So will making a few AOW's in the future. Good luck.
January 31, 2012, 06:36 PM
Walther: I got signed off by CLEO, completely painless

January 31, 2012, 07:59 PM
Other than LEO signoff issues, what other reasons would you want to use a trust for?

Avoiding the hassle of having fingerprint cards done and passport photos taken.

January 31, 2012, 08:19 PM
Other than LEO signoff issues, what other reasons would you want to use a trust for? My 1 and only NFA item I did without going the trust route. Why should I spend several hundred dollars to set one up now?

Walther: I got signed off by CLEO, completely painless

Its used mostly for suppressors and short-barrels, but as others have said it can be used for other things outside of your will when you pass.

Also getting signed-off by a CLEO may be harder for others, esp on larger cities or counties. Your experience may be painless, but believe me it can be a PITA for others.

Having a lawyer who is an expert of the law backing you up is also a good thing to have for peace of mind in case there are any other questions that arise regarding a trust (not only firearms related).

Walther P99
February 1, 2012, 08:47 AM
Walther: I got signed off by CLEO, completely painless
Consider yourself lucky.. And my County Sheriff has the nerve to call himself a conservative Republican. - I guess he likes the power of denying people their rights. I even tried the county District Attorney, but her office didn't know what a Form 4 was and when I explained it, they referred me to the Sheriff's office. :banghead:

Now trying to get a Trust set up but of the two attorneys I contacted, neither has responded to my emails - looks like I'll need to call.

Update: Got a response from one and his fee is $600, which is more than I was hoping for but I may have him do it anyway as it beats a $250k fine and 10 years being Bubba's bitch..

February 13, 2012, 02:45 PM
I enlisted the services of NW Gun Law Group too and had my previous trust restated. They've worked directly with the NFA branch of the ATF. They've visited the faciliies. There are boxes of documents sitting on shelves. Just because your trust is approved doesn't mean it is legally sound. They don't run your application through their legal department. For example, my first trust was legally invalid and I didn't even fill in the reason for ownership on the Form 4. I was approved 2 months later anyhow. I suspect it'll be even worse now as processing staff at the NFA branch is down to 9 (from 15) employees to process an estimated 120,000 applications. Lots of folks will slip through the cracks. They are seriously overworked.

The two founding lawyers of the service I used are avid 2A supporters and estate lawyers. They have a basic $100 version stripped strictly for NFA items. One step up, mine allows me to name co-trustees, lifetime beneficiaries, and beneficiaries if I'm incapacitated or die. The language allows any who shoot with me temporary lifetime beneficiary status. It allows my collection to avoid probate, meaning no public records. All NFA items are on a Schedule A while any other firearms and assets can be designated on my Schedule B so it can name specific people I bequeath or gift to. Personally owned NFA items bcome legal hot potatos when you die and most people will unknowingly handle them illegally. My trust is tailored to me and specific to my state's laws. It offers protection for myself and those who inheret my assets. Lastly, in some event you become ineligible to own firearms, you don't relinquish anything. Your trust owns the items, not an individual.

I never understood folks that cheap out on one peculiar aspect in the overall picture, like folks that buy expensive rifles and use cheap ammo orcheap glass, or folks that are NFA collectors but won't spend the money to make sure they're good to go. What's a few hundred dollars investment in legal services when you might have ten thousand dollars banking on a document?
February 13, 2012, 07:40 PM
I looked up the NW Gun Law Group and came up with 2 sites. On Google, the first result is a .com version that when I clicked on it, a web page came up saying it's an attack site, so the assumption is, it's not legit.
The 2nd result was a .net which looks more like a blog.

My question for you is, which website did you go to or did you call them?

Edit: After manually typing in the .com version I actually went to the site. Seems the links on Google search have been compromised as they try to redirect you somewhere else. Careful what you click

February 13, 2012, 09:09 PM
I just visited the site on my computer using Firefox and it seems to work. I hopped on through my phone's 4G and it appears to redirect...very odd.

It wants to redirect to "", Googling that I get some results for malware on the website-side. Yup, I'll email Keith and let him know something is up with their website.

February 14, 2012, 12:25 AM
If anyone lives in Virginia I can recommend an attorney.

I have never met him. He does it over the phone and with email. The trust he wrote for me is airtight. I bought two suppressors last year. I have just filled out two form 1's to build a SBR and a SBS with his help and I have just had my trust amended. I am in the process of assigning property to the trust before sending my Form 1's.

An attorney is going to cost you, but having a resource to tell you exactly how to fill out the paperwork properly and the help has been worth the price.

My original trust $375
Having the trust amended $50

$425 for a trust and legal advice on how to fill out forms and assignment of property to the trust. Having the one-on-one help is worth the extra money for me.

February 14, 2012, 06:31 PM
"Having the trust amended $50"

With a revocable living trust, the trustee can modify the trust at any time. No lawyer needed.

You need a new lawyer. Mine only charges $100 for NFA trusts that can be modified any any time by the trustee.


February 14, 2012, 07:01 PM
One question I have is when you set up your trust, does one transfer all of their guns to the trust or just the things that need $200 stamps?

I thought about that as well but decided against it.

One trust for NFA items.

One trust for everything else.

Do you really want to list all your firearms (NON NFA) on a Schedule A and submit it to the NFA branch when you file a form four?

I don't. =D

February 14, 2012, 07:42 PM
You don't need to list all your NFA firearms in your trust every time you apply for another stamp. BATFE doesn't care what's in your trust. The only reason they require the Sched A at all is because they're mistakenly under the assumption that an unfunded trust is not valid. And having anything listed in Sched A, even if it's a bicycle or a book, makes it a funded trust.

The trust is just a legal requirement for the application to be processed. You can list all kinds of crap in your trust, and BATFE doesn't need or want to know about it.

Now if you're doing any serious estate planning, you should consider getting a better trust than most people have for NFA stuff. Talk to a lawyer and get something more ironclad for large amounts of money or property. Most NFA trusts are very basic because all they're needed for is the application.


February 14, 2012, 09:47 PM
AZB, my attorney is outside of DC so the cost of everything is a little inflated.

It could be easy to say that I paid too much, but having piece of mind of an airtight attorney-written trust who taught me how to properly fill out BATFE forms is a service I wanted. I paid for his service and good, prompt service is what I got.

February 15, 2012, 06:33 PM
Mine has additional sections for estate planning. There is a separate Schedule B to place firearms, ammo, optics, etc which isn't submitted with the trust for Form 4. I just submit my trust and Schedule A. Having my other guns in my specific trust allows all my gun stuff to avoid probate and I can allocate them upon my death exactly how I want or in the event I am incapacitated. For someone looking only to satisfy the ATF for an NFA item, something that comprehensive isn't needed; a basic trust will work. For someone looking long term on how to juggle their gun collection, it becomes a worthwhile investment. It's no different than paying a lawyer for estate and asset planning, except with the extra legal bits to shield your beneficiaries from committing felonies should they inherit your NFA items.

August 6, 2012, 12:25 PM
I'm considering an NFA trust myself....any recommendations for an attorney in the midlands of South Carolina?

August 6, 2012, 04:43 PM
A copy of Quicken WillMaker Premium (with living trust module), a computer with printer, and a notary are all you need to set up your trust. Quick, easy, low cost, and DIY.

August 7, 2012, 12:21 AM
elgin111, if you have a family or personal attorney, they can probably recommend someone, or they can contact the state bar and see who does NFA trusts in your area.

August 7, 2012, 12:15 PM
If you are in Texas contact the folks at they will take care of you.

August 7, 2012, 08:46 PM
Ditto... Same here to the "T" gave me the warm fuzzy I wanted and what's 300.00 when your spending thousands on NFA items

Prince Yamato
August 9, 2012, 03:39 PM
Quicken Will-Maker + Nolo online living trust = $30 download from

Pay $5-10 for a notarization.

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