1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Estate planning & your gun collections

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by oldlawdawg, May 1, 2011.

  1. oldlawdawg

    oldlawdawg New Member

    Sure to get some discussions going..:confused:

    Looking for suggestions, past experiences as they pertain to selling or breaking down gun collections of deceased family members?

    Updating my will and I know of several ways to resolve this but I think we can all agree.. "WE DON'T WANT OUR FAMILY TO GET TAKEN" by smooth talking lawyers,auction houses that will pay dirt price on our collection, to sell at big buck prices.

    Anyone been there and done that and have something in place they could share??

  2. kingpin008

    kingpin008 Well-Known Member

    I'm not sure I understand your question. If you leave your guns to specific individuals, there's no way for them to get "taken" by smooth talking lawyers or auction houses.

    When you have your will written up, make sure whoever does it has a detailed, specific description of the guns, their location, and who gets them (and under what circumstances). Then make sure that everything you specified made it into your will before you approve the final version. Done deal.
  3. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

    I will be giving or willing my guns to sons, nephews, nieces, (Perhaps grandchildren if I live long enough) They will have an excellent idea of the worth and history of the guns.

    Put a detailed list of guns with some history and approximate worth in the safe if you feel like they will end up just being sold by the wife or husband.
  4. Bubbles

    Bubbles Well-Known Member

    That's if you have heirs who would be interested in them. Sometimes people just... aren't (yes, it's hard to fathom!). Or they may live in states that prohibit ownership of certain types of firearms (think NFA stuff), or the heirs may be prohibited persons, or... well, you get the idea. Bear in mind that the executor may not be up on firearms laws and how to legally transfer them, either to the heirs or people who purchase them from the estate.

    You could explicitly list every firearm make, model, serial #, etc. and which heir will get it, but then every time you buy or sell a gun you would need to update your documents.

    My advice would be to find a reputable dealer in your area and leave a note for the executor with your Will letting him know that if the heirs aren't interested in taking the firearms and they need to be liquidated, they should be consigned with that dealer.
  5. AlexanderA

    AlexanderA Well-Known Member

    Keep in mind that a probated will is a public record. Do you really want the world to know, with specificity, the firearms that your heirs will be owning?

    Details like this are best left out of the will, and placed in a sealed letter of instructions to the executor. If you don't have anyone to trust as an executor, then this begs the question of why you should care where your property goes after your death. Trust me, in that case, someone will come forward to make the arrangements.

    Also, gun collections are fluid -- many collectors are constantly buying, selling, and improving their collections. How do you know what exactly you will own at the time of death? And friends, too, come and go. You might not be on speaking terms with those upon whom, earlier, you had planned to bestow your largesse.

    One exception to this advice might be if you own NFA items and want them to pass to named unrelated beneficiaries without payment of transfer tax. But, then, $200 might be a small price to pay for privacy.
  6. Shadow 7D

    Shadow 7D Well-Known Member

    Actually if you have a decent sized estate, file a copy of your will at the courthouse, usually there is a nominal fee, but it's there FOREVER, which means a new one every time you change something.

    If you have estate planning, some firms charge a NOT extravagant fee, and consider, something like $1000 isn't that much when you start to understand all the details of wrapping up a persons LEGAL existence.

    I would either start handing them down NOW - only to people YOU know will keep the guns in the family, I would actually use a legal trust, owning the guns, if it's an extensive collection. Either that or making a list, and having everyone sign it and stipulate that if the first person ever decided to part with it, it goes to the next family member.
  7. MikeNice

    MikeNice Well-Known Member

    Here is a question I've had since my dad was diagnosed with cancer. Do I have to do a FFL transfer if he passes? He only owns one hand gun that isn't black powder. The rest are military surplus rifles except for a .50 cal black powder rifle.
  8. 22-rimfire

    22-rimfire Well-Known Member

    Good point about involving a FFL dealer. I don't know the answer, but I would assume that applicable Federal, State, and Local laws apply. I would assume that the executor would handle the transfers when a transfer is needed. For example, a convicted felon can not receive or own firearms regardless of a will. But, those firearms could be sold and the proceeds given to the named party.

    This estate issue is very important if you as the collection owner cares what the final disposition of your firearms might be. Believe me, the apparent heirs very commonly enter the home of the deceased and take what they want to regardless of a will or any wishes of the deceased. It happens all the time. Unfortunately, that is in part what courts are for.

    So to minimize this situation, the firearms must be removed from the home and placed in the custody of the executor for sale or distributution in accordance with the wishes of the deceased.

    My personal feeling is that arrangements should be made with a trusted FFL dealer to sell the guns on consignment or use an auction house for the quick liquidation of the collection. If you have an attorney acting on behalf of the owner, he/she will charge for their services, and you might as well just put the guns on consignment or have them go to an action house who specializes in firearms.

    This begs the question... what auction houses specialize in firearms? How do you make arrangements with them? Name some reputable auction houses and contact information.
  9. hardluk1

    hardluk1 member

    You might want to look into haveing a revocable trust drawn up. It can cover everthing in yours and your wifes name. Makes changes to property easy to divide and update.
  10. Mike OTDP

    Mike OTDP Well-Known Member

    It depends greatly on the number of heirs, and the type of guns in the collection. Any attorney or accountant will tell you that the fights over an estate tend to be a function of the square of the number of heirs. Which means that if you have three or more, you really need a detailed list of who gets what.

    Now, if an estate is going to sell, there are two good methods. The first is one of the auction boards. The other is one of the auction houses. I'd suggest the former for common firearms, the latter for high-dollar items. Online auctions tend to top out at $2K in value.

    And there are some firearms that are true investments. You can will those to family members with instructions...like "Hold onto this original 1851 Colt Navy as long as possible, because it will appreciate in value at 10% per year".
  11. MtnSpur

    MtnSpur Well-Known Member

    Items you do not want lawyers, etc to have to haggle over should not be listed in a will. It complicates the process tremendously. The executor of the estate (this is an actual experience from our family) printed out a list of weapons with a corresponding number (ie: 1, 2, 3, etc), then slips of paper with the numbers were put into a bowl/hat. The siblings drew numbers one at a time in rotation until the slips were gone. The number you got was the weapon you received. You were allowed to trade after the drawing but absolutely no complaining was allowed or the weapons were forfeit to the other siblings as outlined above. Any member of the family could opt out.
    Fair, worked like a charm.
  12. wally

    wally Well-Known Member

    I've given a few away to the nephews, may give away some more, but what I don't sell to partially fund my retirement I have in my Will to go to the NRA and TSRA to support future gun rights.
  13. mrcooper

    mrcooper member

    Very interesting post. I have one realitive that is in to guns but he lives in California and I am afraid to give them to him. So I guess the governor of Oregon will get all of them to sell or give to his friends or relatives.:cuss::cuss:
  14. JerryM

    JerryM Well-Known Member

    An inheritence does not require transfer through a FFL. I don't have the ATF rule at my fingertips.
  15. Shadow 7D

    Shadow 7D Well-Known Member

    Might I suggest that if you don't have anyone to leave your weapons to, you bequeath them to a local pro gun org, like Ducks unlimited or a state NRA, if nothing else, they will go to a raffle at the fundraiser, with your smiling mug and picture on the back in the 'dedicated to' section.
  16. Bubbles

    Bubbles Well-Known Member

    A lawful heir does not need to go through an FFL to have the guns transferred (absent state laws to the contrary). OTOH if the guns are sold out of the estate, such as at an auction, then yes, they do have to go through an FFL.
  17. heeler

    heeler Well-Known Member

    My Will leaves all my firearms to my younger Brother including my gun safes.
    Nowhere in the Will does it specify what guns I have but just that he gets them.
    My chosen exeucutor is a life long friend that I trust absolutely.
    This person has already handle the estate of two different relatives and both had the biggest whiners and losers and greedy ankle biters that a family can have.
    They hate her guts I am sure but she stuck to the letter of the deceased wishes absolutely.
  18. 1894

    1894 Well-Known Member

    I have a trust done by this guy:


    I would encourage you to check it out.

    Edited to add: I also follow his blog - a lot of adverts, but also some good info.
  19. hermannr

    hermannr Well-Known Member

    I have the same problem, who should get what. What I am thinking is to give them all to my (oldest) most level headed daughter (out of the 5 daughters) and have her decide...I know, that's mean eh? If she were to keep them all, that would be OK with me, but some of the grandkids might like one or two also.

    Most of my guns are quite old and have been in my wife's or my family for a long time (early 1900's) so I really would rather they be kept, and not sold. But then after I am dead, I guess I won't care much.

    After my FIL died, and before any of his guns could be distributed between the kids, someone stole the whole collection, someone that knew what Vic had, and knew that he and just died...funny thing, the guy that stole all of Vic's guns, had his whole collection (including Vic's guns) stolen a week later...
  20. MtnSpur

    MtnSpur Well-Known Member

    Karma bit the first thief and good thing there. Sorry the family lost out on the collection however, that's just not right.

Share This Page