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forming a LLC for NFA items

Discussion in 'NFA Firearms and Accessories' started by tongthrower, Oct 30, 2011.

  1. tongthrower

    tongthrower New Member

    I guess i have read pretty much every "how to" on the NFA stamps and paper work but have come up with a few "what if" questions on my on and hope you guys can shed some light on it for me.

    I found a dealer and spoke with my CLEO and he as agreed to sign the paperwork but im now working over seas as an expat. Now lets say that I take possesion of the said NFA items, and have it in the safe at the house while I am out of the country. Would any family member (who can legally own firearms) who lives at the same registered address who has access to the safe be open to any legal issues for "possesion" of a NFA item if their name is not on the stamp?

    Would i be better off forming an LLC for the NFA stuff? What are the pros and cons of that?

    Thanks for any help
  2. zoom6zoom

    zoom6zoom Well-Known Member

    Not sure of all the aspects of an LLC for this (other than you will need to file annual tax reports, etc), but if using a trust they just need to be listed as trustees.
  3. AlexanderA

    AlexanderA Well-Known Member

    A trust might be better. Once you set it up, there are no further costs or formalities in maintaining a trust (as opposed to a corporation).
  4. plouffedaddy

    plouffedaddy Well-Known Member

    I just set up a trust since I get sent oversees for 12 months stints in desert paradise pretty frequently... :barf: I used guntrustlawyer.com. It was kind of expensive, but I'd rather pay upfront than pay legal fees for a trial when I'm just trying to play by the rules... I put my family on the trust to protect them as well.
  5. Acera

    Acera Well-Known Member

    Do a trust if you can.

    I recently paid a number of $200 transfer taxes to get my stuff moved from my LLC into a trust. If you think paying that tax the first time is bad, try keeping your cool as you do it for the exact same item, that you are holding in your hand, a second time.

    The trust does not require near the same amount of work that the LLC does to keep active.

    The trust allows anyone that is a trustee to posses the items.

    The trust can also be a great way to avoid the pitfalls of a will, and take care of that necessary business.
  6. MasterSergeantA

    MasterSergeantA Well-Known Member

    The short answer to your original question is, "Yes." There is a problem with others having access to your personally owned NFA items when you are not present. In a safe, probably not so much as compared to he/she/them getting up on a bright Saturday morning and deciding to take them out to the range. But the legality is still an issue.

    As has been discussed about "constructive possession" of a NFA firearm because you have an AR and a short-barreled upper in the same location, you would more than likely have to have committed some other offense to come up on ATF's radar for such a transgression. And they certainly have their hands full these days. But the law is still there.

    The recommendations about both the LLC and trust are valid. The trust is probably easier and cheaper, but it is important to get it done correctly.
  7. tongthrower

    tongthrower New Member

    Thanks for the good info guys, sounds like a trust is the best option for me.

    Is a gun trust much different from any other real estate trust?
  8. Strykervet

    Strykervet member

    Yes and no. The lawyer that did ours does estate planning, but the NFA trust is a separate part.

    With the trust, you don't have to maintain the LLC or licenses or whatever. The LLC will cost you more in the long run and be more of a hassle.

    With a trust, your wife can have equal rights. You can also add other people to the trust to use items or possess items.

    For instance, I can loan a suppressor to a friend, legally (although it isn't recommended) and add and remove people's access at will. My wife on the other hand, she can buy stuff for the trust OR sell stuff from the trust --I don't have to be present.

    You need the trust. You also need to get one from a lawyer that does specialize in NFA trusts, and a local one if you can. If not, Goldman or Goldberg, a lawyer in FL, he networks nationwide with others. What you don't want is a trust from a website, a store, or a lawyer that doesn't know the muzzle from the breech. Mine was a gun nut, my trust is specifically worded around NFA laws and is specifically for that. You certainly can tell the difference, what I have you can't get online.

    Gundocx is the document that is used, the template. Perhaps a search for that will turn up lawyers that deal with that particular trust document in your area.
  9. medalguy

    medalguy Well-Known Member

    MasterSergeantA is absolutely right. If your wife/parent/child/best friend has the combination to your safe, and there are NFA items in there, they are technically in violation of the law. Only the registered owner may have "access" to the weapons. Look into a trust.
  10. GoingQuiet

    GoingQuiet Well-Known Member

    Trusts do not have legacy costs, LLC's do.

    I'd suggest you talk to a lawyer and look at the options.
  11. MagnumDweeb

    MagnumDweeb Well-Known Member

    Talk to a lawyer about doing a Revocable Living Trust. Then ask them if they know anything about the NFA. If they do then give them a quick quiz as to transferring, setting up checking accounts for the trust, and get a thorough run down on what the trust will actually do.

    The main thing the ATF wants is for your Trust to be a legitimate Trust, not just some document you got to get around the CLEO signature. The next part is they want to see you have legitimate and reasonable methods and terms for the storage, transfer, future transfer, and outlining of Trustee responsibilities. You have to send in a copy of your actual Trust now. A memorandum of your Trust will not suffice. Again get a competent Attorney to do it and be safe.

    Do you have to have all those NFA friendly terms and conditions. There is no certain answer from the ATF unfortunately. They only really say in their handbook that they will allow the use of a Trust. I like all the terms and conditions in their to protect the validity of the Trust, the Grantor, the Trustees, and the beneficiaries.

    Some lawyers will tell you, you can do "A" and some will tell you, you don't have to do "A." Remember, get an Attorney to do it. Why? If something goes wrong you want someone you can sue, and while the ATF may not be sympathetic to your honest undertaking, a judge might. If you do it yourself and you do it wrong, you are out of luck.

    When it comes to the ATF you can't be too careful. If you ask the same question five times, and get two different answers. You go with the answer that is least likely going to get you in trouble.

    I do Personal Injury in Florida mainly, I got into Estate Planning because one of my old professors liked my ability to talk to people. So on the side I did Trusts and Wills(plus Power of Attorney, Healthcare Surrogate, etc..) till a buddy asked me to do an NFA Trust for him. After three months of research, and calls to the ATF(plus letters), and a whole host of other annoying things I came up with a twenty-five page monstrosity for him. Then a buddy of his wanted one, then his father's friend wanted one, then his second cousin removed wanted one, etc. etc. etc..

    They all complain that the Trusts are too burdensome and that other lawyers have told them they can get a Trust without all the headaches. To that I would say "then get it from them." So if you are prepared for some minor headaches a Trust is a good option.

    If you want a lot of headaches then get an LLC. I've had folks with LLCs jump on Trusts once they understand them. With all that said, get a competent Attorney in your state to do it, also do your own research and read through the ATF handbook with a careful eye. If the Attorney can't answer questions you've come up from the ATF handbook then that ought to be food for thought. Again, get a competent Attorney.
  12. Strykervet

    Strykervet member

    I think you got your answer. A real NFA trust from a lawyer that actually understands the NFA. 25 page monstrosity? You bet. Mine may even be bigger. And yes, the whole trust agreement (a copy) gets sent in with the paperwork.

    When you get it, make sure to ask the lawyer if the cost of this will be deducted from a full estate plan. I paid $500, ours is a little "flashier" but all of that goes towards a full estate plan when we are ready. The NFA trust remains separate.

    I can't stress how important it is to get a lawyer that understands NFA though. When shopping around for one years ago, I couldn't find one that even knew what NFA stood for, let alone make a trust that won't violate any of those archaic laws. Note the fellow above says he did three months of research.

    Knowing what I know about it now, I'd get a trust even if NFA wasn't an issue. It does much more than just let you buy NFA without CLEO signature.

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