New suppressor, trust question


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Lennyjoe
May 11, 2013, 01:38 AM
All,

I just layed out $750 (tax title and all) for an AAC Cyclone 7.62 suppressor for my 300 AAC Blackout and have a quick question. I want to do a trust and was wondering if I should do the document myself or obtain legal services to do the trust for me, so I can send it in with the proper forms.

What's your experience doing a trust? Thanks.

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MaterDei
May 11, 2013, 01:45 AM
Nice purchase. I'm jealous. Sorry I can't answer your question but I'd love to have that can on my 300 BLK.

Lennyjoe
May 11, 2013, 02:04 AM
Thought about going with the YHM-4300 LT but the 4 + month wait just for the can was the turn off. This one was also about $75 cheaper but the trade off is the weight and length. Good thing is, it was on the shelf already so that cuts the wait in half.

giggitygiggity
May 11, 2013, 03:48 PM
Have a lawyer do the trust for you. Unlike a regular revocable trust, there is specific NFA language and considerations that must be addressed in the trust. Drafting a trust yourself and having it end up being invalid would mean that the purchases made using the trust would be illegal. Most places charge between $500-1000 to draft a trust for you and then $75-100 for any amendments that you add in the future.

cpy911
May 11, 2013, 04:04 PM
Thousands of Quicken/Nolo trusts have been approved. Why would my Quicken Trust be invalid? It is a legal document and notarized and valid. Once the approved tax stamps are validated and in your possession you are good to go.

If you FEEL better spending more money with a lawyer, be my guest.

Impureclient
May 11, 2013, 04:06 PM
$500-1000!!!! They are $200 all day long in FL. Where do they charge that much?

Aaron Baker
May 11, 2013, 06:34 PM
Unfortunately, lawyers are only licensed on a state by state basis. So in some states, where there aren't a lot of NFA-friendly lawyers drafting trusts, the prices are high. In other places, competition keeps the price low. As far as I know, I'm the only lawyer in Kentucky doing NFA trusts, but I still only charge $200 because I don't believe in gouging people.

Your two options are to do the trust yourself using Quicken Willmaker or a similar resource, or to pay an attorney who is licensed in your state. Paying "some guy on the internet" who isn't even a lawyer, like 199trusts.com, is just stupid. If you're confident that you can do it yourself, more power to you. If not, hire a professional. But don't hire an unlicensed amateur. He's committing a crime by practicing law without a license, and if he's willing to commit a crime to make money, why would you trust him to create a valid legal document?

Good luck. Sorry that I can't refer you to a specific Arizona-based attorney.

Aaron

cpy911
May 11, 2013, 07:25 PM
You can legally make your own trust. Absolutely nothing wrong with it.

You can not have someone who is not a lawyer do it for you.

Singletracker
May 11, 2013, 08:54 PM
!!!! They are $200 all day long in FL. Where do they charge that much?

Closer to the $1k number for the greater Denver area (this was pre-idiocy too).

I found an attny on the other side of the state that did mine for $350

xxjumbojimboxx
May 12, 2013, 12:30 AM
legal zoom?

giggitygiggity
May 12, 2013, 01:34 AM
Sure, you CAN make a trust yourself and there are programs designed to do so. However, many of the programs are for regular revocable trusts and not worded and designed specifically for NFA firearms. I highly recommend that you at least consult with an attorney who practices firearms law and see if you would rather do it yourself or have a professional draft the trust for you. Many attorneys give free consultations so you can decide for yourself.

whubbard
May 12, 2013, 05:23 PM
I have a Quicken Will that I easily did myself, wasn't a problem getting approved. When I see people saying that you should get a lawyer to do it, I assume:

1) They are a lawyer.
2) They are still justifying how much they paid a lawyer for their trust.

I really haven't come across any wording in an 'nfa specific' trust that I feel my Quicken Will trust doesn't cover or that I'm worried about.

Impureclient
May 12, 2013, 06:14 PM
One of these days somebody is going to just take their trust and word for word copy it and paste it on the internet for everybody to use. We are allowed to do that right?
Maybe it would have to be posted for each State but that seems like the easy way to end the gouging altogether. Does a NFA trust have different wording going from State to State?
If that is legal I will offer up mine for Florida. Mine was done by a attorney, so it's all legally worded.

Aaron Baker
May 12, 2013, 07:09 PM
One of these days somebody is going to just take their trust and word for word copy it and paste it on the internet for everybody to use. We are allowed to do that right?
Maybe it would have to be posted for each State but that seems like the easy way to end the gouging altogether. Does a NFA trust have different wording going from State to State?
If that is legal I will offer up mine for Florida. Mine was done by a attorney, so it's all legally worded.

I know there are a lot of lawyers in the country, and being one, I know that a fair number of them are jerks. I also know that if you've ever had contact with the legal system, there was a lawyer on both sides, so you probably think at least 50% of all lawyers are horrible people. But I think that lawyers who want to help people legally own NFA firearms are due a little more respect from the firearms community.

You paid a professional, who spent at least 7 years in college in order to learn how to write a proper legal document to protect you, to make you a trust. That professional owes student loans for that education. And that professional has mouths to feed. And he took into account your specific needs when he created that document.

And the document he created is copyrighted, as are all written works. So you may be breaking the law by posting it online for others to copy. The chances that you'd get punished are basically none, but that doesn't make it right.

If I were you, I'd at least give him the respect of asking him if you can post it on the internet. From an intellectual property perspective, it'd be no different than saying "Boy, that was a good book I just read, and I know other people want to read it, but the author wrote it down once, so why should anyone else have to pay? I'll just put it on the internet for free."

To answer the practical questions: yes, there are differences in trust laws from state to state. Those apply regardless of whether it's an NFA trust. And while the wording of a standard trust may be sufficient to let you legally acquire your NFA toys, where the NFA trust is differs is how the wording of the trust deals with the transfer of the items after your death, or forbids automatic actions that a standard trust might take that would cause you to violate federal law.

When I see people saying that you should get a lawyer to do it, I assume:

1) They are a lawyer.
2) They are still justifying how much they paid a lawyer for their trust.


I don't insist that people use a lawyer to make their trust. Yes, I am a lawyer and yes, I do NFA trusts (in Kentucky only). My fee is inexpensive, and I think that I provide a service that's worth the money.

Plenty of people are comfortable doing things themselves, and I respect that. I do my own plumbing, my own electrical work, my own car repairs, and my own gunsmithing. But I also know when I'm in over my head and need a professional's assistance.

If I were to ask a question on the internet about how to install a hot tub, I wouldn't be surprised if someone told me to hire a plumber. I would not expect someone to say that anyone who hires a plumber is either a plumber or trying to justify how much they paid their plumber.

If you want to create your own trust, go for it. There are plenty of intelligent people that are capable of it. But just like anything else, you need to learn what you're doing if you want to do it right.

Be prepared to read all the legal treatises you need to in order to understand what you're doing. This might involve going to a physical library. Understand the legal terms used in trusts and your state's laws about trusts. Know what you can and can't do with NFA firearms. And then draft your trust accordingly. Or take the risk that Quicken Willmaker will get it close enough that your heirs aren't in violation of federal law.

But don't violate copyright law and take food out of someone's mouth just because you don't personally want to pay for a trust.

I'm sure some people won't like my response because I'm an attorney, and so this response must be self-serving. That's fine. I'm a big boy and I can live with people not liking me. I am also sure that some people will ask, "Okay, so if NFA trusts really are different, tell me how they're different." The thing is, I make my living by knowing information and having skills that other people don't. (Just like a plumber. Huh.) I'm happy to discuss NFA laws on the internet, and I'm happy to talk in general about how NFA trusts are different. But I'm not going to spell it out, word for word, and tell you how to do it yourself for free, because my mortgage company doesn't take "the goodwill of THR" as payment. They insist on dollars. I'm sorry if that offends people.

If you want to create your own trust, then seriously, go for it. But copying someone else's copyrighted intellectual property isn't creating your own. And don't look down on people who want the peace of mind of having an expert tell them that their legal documents will keep them and their family safe.

Aaron

cpy911
May 12, 2013, 07:23 PM
I have a Quicken Will that I easily did myself, wasn't a problem getting approved. When I see people saying that you should get a lawyer to do it, I assume:

1) They are a lawyer.
2) They are still justifying how much they paid a lawyer for their trust.

I really haven't come across any wording in an 'nfa specific' trust that I feel my Quicken Will trust doesn't cover or that I'm worried about.
This.
If you FEEL better hire a lawyer to make an NFA trust for you.
Otherwise my NFA documents have instructions for my heirs to fill out and send in ATF form 5. No worries. It is not that complicated folks. Just read the rules on the ATF
website.

NormB
May 13, 2013, 12:49 AM
!!!! They are $200 all day long in FL. Where do they charge that much?
All over the place. NFA trusts in Maryland run upwards of $600. For cookie-cutter verbage, you're paying premium prices for the privilege. Check around, there are some other lawyers who charge more reasonable rates - $200 ballpark - for same, you might also consider using one of the cookie-cutter NFA trusts being passed around the web.

I've used one myself for four suppressor transfers, no problem.

I'll get flamed/slammed/lambasted by the legal mafia over this, no doubt, but there are other options.

As a physician, I understand the professional "angst" when you see/hear about people functioning as their own doctors (or lawyers, as the case may be), but hey, I do my own taxes, the hell with the CPA mafia. I don't bat an eye when a patient takes an OTC med for fever, or puts on their own bandaid. Some things should be self-evident and well within the purview of the average public education victim without the extortionate rates of attorneys (or CPAs) to worry about.

Shop around.

NormB
May 13, 2013, 12:56 AM
All,

I just layed out $750 (tax title and all) for an AAC Cyclone 7.62 suppressor for my 300 AAC Blackout and have a quick question. I want to do a trust and was wondering if I should do the document myself or obtain legal services to do the trust for me, so I can send it in with the proper forms.

What's your experience doing a trust? Thanks.
PS: I own an AAC Cyclone 7.62. It's as good as my SWR Shadow if not better, and was a little cheaper. I'd avoid ANY of the 18, 51 or 90-something tooth RATCHET mounts made by AAC. They're total ****. Maybe wait for them to come up with a 360 tooth ratchet ; - ).

I've had nothing but problems with mine and the company has NEVER answered a single email, phone call, or registered letter of complaint. I did manage to find a fix on another website requiring some machine-shop work, but really, threaded is the way to go for cans. I wouldn't buy another AAC can if you paid for the can AND form 4.

medalguy
May 13, 2013, 01:28 AM
I am NOT an attorney. I hired an attorney to write MY NFA trust and I feel it was worth every penny paid. There IS NFA specific language in my trust and I would not feel comfortable using Quicken to write it. I feel like there's just too much riding on the legality of that trust.

While I'm not an attorney, I was an FFL for many years and I was an SOT for most of those years, so I do understand the complexity of NFA laws, and I can assure you I don't want to take any chances with NFA ownership.

Akita1
May 13, 2013, 02:08 PM
Lawyer, lawyer, lawyer and nothing but lawyer. Words mean something and I have seen quite a few forms rejected by BATFE on friends' NFA purchases for the slightest immaterial wording mishap in an trust document.

A few posts above note the attitude problem - to me it's much akin to "gun shop guy" attitude. I asked friends who they have used and successfully executed numerous NFA transactions, and then used the one most amenable. DIY legal docs are asking for trouble, IMHO. It's not just a risk to you, but your investments, heirs, etc. My cost was flat $600, including afew amendments he had to make here & there to make it compatible with my existing trust/will/estate docs for my wife & kids.

whubbard
May 13, 2013, 05:19 PM
Do people not realize that the Quicken Wills are written by a team of very competent lawyers? I'm not drafting up my own trust from a blank sheet.

I don't see why so many people recommend paying $400+ for a NFA trust written by one lawyer over a $30 for a Quicken trust written by a team of lawyers. Many NFA lawyers have one draft and they slap on different names, Quicken is no different, they just don't have the NFA language.

Now if Quicken Wills were being rejected for this difference in language, I would understand it, but they aren't. Mine have been approved, as have many others. I doubt the rate of Quicken rejections is any different than those written by NFA specific lawyers.

Remember, both are written by lawyers, the main difference (imho) is cost.

TIMC
May 14, 2013, 11:06 PM
When I see people saying that you should get a lawyer to do it, I assume:

1) They are a lawyer.
2) They are still justifying how much they paid a lawyer for their trust

That is just a silly statement.

I used a lawyer, am not one myself and don't have to justify what I paid for anything to anyone. I will say piece of mind for me is worth not having any mistakes that could cause problems down the road for me or my heirs.

Do what you feel comfortable with.

On a side note I didn't do my will, legal power attorney or medical power of attorney myself either and when I need a plumber I call a plumber!

Lennyjoe
May 15, 2013, 02:13 AM
Trust is done. Paperwork heading out tomorrow.

NormB, tell me more about the AAC mounts...

TIMC
May 15, 2013, 05:36 PM
Trust is done. Paperwork heading out tomorrow.

Congrats, Now just a nice little 6 month wait before the fun begins..... :D

Lennyjoe
May 15, 2013, 06:31 PM
Marking the date and patiently waiting....

dprice3844444
May 16, 2013, 12:29 AM
http://www.guntrustlawyer.com/free-nfa-gun-trust/

hentown
May 16, 2013, 08:28 PM
Is the verbiage that's unique to an NFA trust a deep, dark, secret? Seems to me it should be pretty simple to use an online source for the trust and add whatever verbiage is needed to make the trust NFA-compliant.

I'm going the LLC route, but did have an attorney handle the creation of the LLC. Glad the attorney is my son. I got the "family discount," of course. :)

cpy911
May 17, 2013, 12:36 AM
Is the verbiage that's unique to an NFA trust a deep, dark, secret? Seems to me it should be pretty simple to use an online source for the trust and add whatever verbiage is needed to make the trust NFA-compliant.

I'm going the LLC route, but did have an attorney handle the creation of the LLC. Glad the attorney is my son. I got the "family discount," of course. :)
Here is a template from a local forum I visit.

http://www.northwestfirearms.com/nfa-weapons/18970-revocable-living-trust.html

Bartholomew Roberts
June 12, 2013, 09:43 PM
I *am* a lawyer. I paid almost $200 just to attend a CLE specifically on the topic of drafting gun/NFA trusts, even though I already had access to multiple professionally drafted gun trusts and have drafted them in the past. If you feel OK with a $30 Quicken trust, that is your choice.

There are all kinds of ways to screw up a trust. Unlike being your own plumber though, you won't get immediate feedback if you do something wrong. If you are lucky, you'll know after a few months when the ATF refuses it. That is actually good news as you know you have a problem and are only out $200. If you are somewhat unlucky, it will only create a problem for your heirs and you'll be dead so what do you care? If you are really unlucky, someone will end up in prison or you may get ousted from your own trust, etc.

The Quicken trusts are written generically to cover the broadest possible range of situations. They are updated infrequently, meaning they often miss state level changes in probate law, and occasionally, they are flat out wrong. If you just want a trust the ATF will approve so you can get your hot little hands on a new toy as cheap and as fast as possible, they'll probably do.

Remember though, a trust is a separate entity - like a corporation. That may have tax consequences in your state, either initially or if you later add to it. At the federal level, wiith NFA items, you may end up creeping into your estate tax exemption when adding to a trust.

A good lawyer should not just be drafting you a trust (and he'll use a form of his own too); but he should also be explaining how NFA laws and tax laws can affect you and the best practices to comply with them.

greyling22
June 12, 2013, 10:50 PM
for whatever it's worth, my buddy just bought a suppressor in dallas, where they don't give CLEO signoff, and the gun shop gave him this trust form to fill out.

Bartholomew Roberts
June 13, 2013, 10:55 AM
That "gun trust" is a pretty typical example of a trust that the ATF will approve (provided you fill it out correctly and don't do something stupid like making the Settlor, Trustee and Beneficiary the same person) but that makes absolutely zero effort to address any of the problems that commonly occur with gun trusts.

The only thing that makes it a "gun trust" as opposed to a generic trust is the Schedule A for listing firearms - and since the trust doesn't actually take possession until after the Form 1 or 4 has cleared, most of that Schedule A is unnecessary.

If you:
Live in Texas
trust everyone you are dealing with 100%
are OK with possibly losing everything in the trust to people you trusted
and don't want to pay an attorney, then that trust is probably a good fit for you.

Even then though, you will lose out on valuable advice on how not to fall into common NFA traps, how to document your purchases in a way where an attorney can defend them in court if he has to, and how to deal with banks (remember all the banks cutting off gun related businesses recently - they have done that to gun trusts also).

Lennyjoe
June 14, 2013, 01:39 AM
I still don't understand the banks play in all of this. I purchased my suppressor out of my personal account and have a copy of the transaction. Why would I need a separate account? Please clarify...

Bartholomew Roberts
June 14, 2013, 12:11 PM
Lennyjoe, purchasing the NFA item out of your separate account creates two different issues:

1) The first is any tax consequences of funding a trust. A trust is still a separate taxable entity. In addition to state tax issues that can crop up, any non-charitable gift of more than the gift tax exemption to a single entity can trigger the federal estate tax. Currently the gift tax exemption is $10,000 plus a variable inflation adjustment allowance. So if you bought say an M16 registered receiver or bought a bunch of suppressors in one year, you could end up reducing the estate tax exemption after your death. For a lot of people who want an SBR or suppressor, this is not a big issue; but it certainly will effect guys who can afford registered machineguns.

If you are funding the trust randomly out of your personal account it makes it harder to separate your purchases and trust purchases for tax purposes. People are more prone to making mistakes in that situation - and since purchasing an item for your trust from your personal account and then failing to report the gift to the trust looks a lot like tax evasion to some auditors, it can create unnecessary problems.

2) The second issue is that the NFA firearm is registered to the Trust - not the Grantor of the Trust. Having a separate bank account in the Trust's name and using that for all of your purchases and tax stamp fees helps build a nice solid chain of evidence if you ever have to go into court about whether your possession of an NFA item is legal.

Also, in the past in many states, there has been a lot of litigation over whether a trust was a "sham" trust designed to circumvent state probate law or a legitimate trust that served what the state saw a legitimate purpose. As revocable living trusts have become more popular, that has become less of an issue. I would guess that purchasing and paying tax stamps out of your personal account could conceivably cause some heartache in those states though since it might indicate a blurring between the Grantor and the Trust as separate entities. Just a guess though... it would require a lot of legal research to give a solid answer to that particular issue (sham trusts vs. legitimate trusts) and I'm guessing if you don't want to pay an attorney for a gun trusts, you sure don't want to pay one for that kind of research ;)

This thread actually inspired me to do an article on your question and it includes an analysis of the gun trust greyling22 posted and how well it works as a Texas gun trust. When I get the article finalized in a week or so, I will probably post it here (if you want to wait).

Bartholomew Roberts
June 14, 2013, 12:17 PM
Is the verbiage that's unique to an NFA trust a deep, dark, secret?

As I hope to demonstrate in my article, it isn't so much that the verbiage that is unique to a well-drafted gun trust is a deep, dark secret. It is that most of the gun trusts out there use generic form trusts from Quicken that don't even try to address some of the more common issues.

And once you get into copying specialized, custom-drafted gun trusts from other people, you basically get into a situation where the average person is in over their head. You can change the names and the ATF will probably approve it; but unless you happen to have exactly the same situation and desires as the person the trust was drafted for, it is very easy to screw yourself even worse than the form trusts.

Lennyjoe
June 14, 2013, 02:05 PM
Good info. Thank you sir!

As of now, all I can afford is a single silencer.. But, I do see additional purchases in the future so I think it would behove me to set up an account for the trust.

Looking forward to the article.

greyling22
June 14, 2013, 05:25 PM
I'd be very interested in your analysis Bartholomew. I'd love to own a suppressor or 2 some day, and while I live in a place where the sheriff will sign off, I like the ability of the trust to allow the suppressor to hang out with multiple trustees. Ex: put my brother on the trust an let him take the suppressor out when he hunts pigs. It intrigues me, but I can't afford a lawyer to whip up a super awesome trust. If the generic form allows for that, then great. If it doesn't, then I'm not going to waste my time and risk legal hell. I'll let me brother track down his own can.

Bartholomew Roberts
June 17, 2013, 04:16 PM
Here is the article: http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=719848

greyling22
June 17, 2013, 05:55 PM
Good read. Thanks Bart.

LawBot5000
June 18, 2013, 07:36 PM
I drafted my trust years before I became a lawyer (sadly I don't have a job where I ever deal with trust issues or NFA stuff at all) and lately I've gotten to wondering if I should draft a new trust. I have a basic understanding of the issues but I know that I am probably unaware of about 90 percent of the pitfalls.

Can you modify an already extant trust if you give it the same name, or does that create a new (identically named) trust that doesn't have possession of the items that you transferred to it before redrafting it?

Lonestar11
June 19, 2013, 08:23 PM
I am not a lawyer, and I am not trying to justify the $200.00 I paid to have the trust drawn up by a lawyer. I just wanted to make sure that when something happens to me there would be no problems with the people I named in my trust possessing, selling, etc., my suppressor.

Since I am in Texas, I used a Texas lawyer that specializes in Trusts, AND holds a class 3 license.

hentown
June 24, 2013, 11:38 AM
I have experience in trusts, aamof, I'm the trustee of my oldest son's estate planning family trust. I don't have any experience in NFA trusts. If I were going to go the trust route, I'd trust (no pun intended) my lawyer-son to draft the NFA trust for me. I know that he'd do whatever research was necessary to do the job right.

One thing I do know is that property granted to a revocable trust, whether NFA or not, is included in the Grantor's estate...not so for an irrevocable trust, with the exception that life insurance transferred from the Grantor to a trust is still in the Grantor's estate for a period of three years following the transfer. I believe the current estate tax exemption is $4M (or $8M for a married couple), and that the Unified Credit is @ $1M for gifting. The estate tax exemption and the Unified Credt amounts were the same until fairly recent history.

However, I have already bought my second suppressor through my LLC, and I did buy it with the LLC's bank account. When the form 4 is started, it'll be in the name of the LLC.

Bartholomew Roberts
June 24, 2013, 08:11 PM
Since this popped back up, I wanted to hit another good reason to use a separate bank account for a trust - a trust must be funded at the time of its creation in order to be valid under many state laws. In those states, if there is no property for the trust to manage when it is created, the trust is invalid. A separate bank account can help establish clearly that the trust was funded and had property at the time of its creation.

Elkins45
June 24, 2013, 08:33 PM
I wonder if BATFE gives less scrutiny to a legal instrument that was created by an actual lawyer as opposed to a 'generic' trust?

Lennyjoe
June 26, 2013, 08:32 PM
My trust made no mention of any bank account. Recon I should establish one just to be safe.

knifestuff
July 28, 2013, 06:38 PM
Let me provide some updates on gift tax limits so folks have the right numbers to consider as they consider trusts--the current Federal gift tax exemption is now $13,000 per year per person/entity. (A typical revocable trusts is linked to the grantor's own SSN if you establish a trust account at the local bank).
I am a trust and estate attorney and will tell you Bartholomew Roberts' advice is spot on as it pertains to NFA trusts and getting an attorney to assist. If you spend good money on a can, SBR, AOW, or other NFA item, there is no need to put it at risk by a poorly written trust. I can't speak to what others charge but my fee does not come near to 4 figures (or even the mid range on 3 figures). Shop around, find a trust attorney who belongs to the NRA, and I think you'll get good service and protect your NFA investment.

Prince Yamato
August 1, 2013, 11:11 AM
Have a lawyer do the trust for you. Unlike a regular revocable trust, there is specific NFA language and considerations that must be addressed in the trust. Drafting a trust yourself and having it end up being invalid would mean that the purchases made using the trust would be illegal. Most places charge between $500-1000 to draft a trust for you and then $75-100 for any amendments that you add in the future.

There is no NFA specific language.

There is no difference between a lawyer drafted trust and one you do yourself, other than the lawyer's comes in a fancy folder with the font of his choosing.

Do the trust yourself.

Bartholomew Roberts
August 1, 2013, 04:26 PM
There is no difference between a lawyer drafted trust and one you do yourself, other than the lawyer's comes in a fancy folder with the font of his choosing.

http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=719848

As it turns out, there certainly can be a difference between a lawyer drafted trust and a form trust from Quicken or some other source. That thread gets very specific.

MasterSergeantA
August 1, 2013, 07:46 PM
Is an account at a credit union treated the same way as a bank-based account?

Bartholomew Roberts
August 1, 2013, 08:18 PM
Yes, it is. The two big things are that the trust has property or funded when it is created and that you keep accurate track of the property you have given to the trust and follow the appropriate tax law (a separate account helps with that).

Prince Yamato
August 2, 2013, 01:33 AM
As it turns out, there certainly can be a difference between a lawyer drafted trust and a form trust from Quicken or some other source. That thread gets very specific.
________

Well, yes, you can mess up the trust if you don't follow directions.

My issue is that I see guys walk away from buying NFA weapons because dealers say, "oh you need a trust, here's they lawyer we use, he charges $500+". I think for many people, it's easy enough to do on your own. If I were a heavy collector, yeah, I'd probably go the lawyer route, but for people getting into things like suppressors, you end up paying more for the lawyer than a .22 can.

I have issues with the folks who purposely try to keep NFA weapsons, "a rich man's game". I notice a lot of back scratching going on between NFA dealers and lawyers that basically amounts to over-charging people for a simple service that (most) can do themselves.

Bartholomew Roberts
August 2, 2013, 04:31 AM
There is nothing "screwed up" about the form trust I analyzed in that thread. It is a perfectly valid trust in Texas (assuming the form is filled out correctly). It just doesn't deal with a lot of issues relating to NFA ownership because it is generic and designed to be as broadly used as possible. It is one of those tools that can be used for any job; but that doesn't do any particular job well.

And frankly, I disagree that your average person can draft a trust just as well. It is like any other professional service - you can cut your own hair; but it probably isn't going to look as good as it would if it was done by someone who cuts hair for 100 people every week. Just through experience and continued practice, that person is able to perform that task better (not to mention specific training and education in that regard). And just because you cut your own hair without cutting off your head doesn't make it the equivalent of a professional haircut.

How many people would have thought about the issues raised in that post? Even after I've pointed out the issues, how many people know the correct legal language to fix those issues? A form trust or a trust drafted by a layman is just not the equal of an attorney drafted trust - that is exactly why attorneys can and do charge more for the service.

ETA: As for "purposely trying to keep it a rich man's game", I think you are reading too much into it. It is expensive to be a lawyer. Three years of education (the only schools in Texas that offer that for less than $100,000 are public schools and even then, still not cheap and a limited number of slots). Once you have done that, you have all the costs of any other business: licensing, insurance, continuing education requirements, wanting to eat in between clients coming in the door, etc. Even assuming a bill rate of $150/hr (which is dirt cheap in the TX legal field), $500 gets you a little more than 3 hours time - meaning to break even on the lowest rate, a lawyer has to meet with his client, get the information, research any changes to the basic form he has already drafted (which probably represents anywhere from 20-40 hours of work in itself) and then explain both the drafted trust and NFA law to the client in about 3 hours - doable but tight.

And not infrequently, the reward for that will be the same person giving away your work for free on the Internet to others or trying to sell it themselves at a cut-rate price. This is one reason why I don't do gun trusts except for people that I personally know and I don't charge for them. It is just too much hassle for too little money. And while I agree that I probably wouldn't spend $600 to set up a trust for a $200 .22LR suppressor, you don't need too many NFA items to reach a point where spending $600 to protect your investment is a wise choice.

Prince Yamato
August 3, 2013, 12:41 AM
I wasn't trying to criticize all lawyers. Apologies if you were offended. I always purchase as an individual anyway, so the trust issue doesn't affect me either way. I considered setting one up as a convenience, but I was getting quotes that costed more than items that I wanted. One of the lawyers said, "well you need to have money if you want to get in the NFA game". It left a sour taste in my mouth.

Bartholomew Roberts
August 3, 2013, 08:00 AM
Not offended at all; just trying to help people understand where some of the costs come from. People who think that all the lawyer does is type their names into a blank form naturally tend to think $600 for that is outrageous; but they aren't seeing the costs of becoming a lawyer in the first place, normal business costs, investment costs (research time), costs of doing a low volume business like gun trusts, and costs from theft of services. All of those contribute to higher prices.

And again, I think people often underestimate the potential problems in copied or form trusts because they are only focused on whether or not the ATF will approve it.

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