Listing valuables in will or trust

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by gnappi, Mar 25, 2021.

  1. gnappi

    gnappi Member

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    When I had my will made up the Attorney was a bit forceful on it being a "good idea" listing my valuables in my will. I later found that for probate work on estates between $100,000 and $900,000: they collect 3% of the estate’s value. Nice, trying to get a nice legal attachment to my assets when I'm gone.

    Gads! So I went with a trust instead since my son won't have to go through probate.
     
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  2. AlexanderA
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    AlexanderA Member

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    Probated wills are public documents whereas trusts are not. Therefore, it's not a good idea to list too many specifics in a will -- especially guns. There are ways to get around this, such as with residuary clauses or letters of instruction to the executors.

    Also, there are many alternatives to having a will. It is definitely not true that "everyone should have a will."
     
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  3. rust collector
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    rust collector Moderator Staff Member

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    As a retired attorney, I disagree with the advice that not everyone should have a will. There is always a possibility of something unforeseen happening that wasn't addressed in a trust, title or other disposition. Wills should be general in nature, however, with specific bequests easily changed without full formalities. In South Dakota it has long been determined an unethical practice to charge a percentage of the gross or net estate. This may have been common in some places many years ago, but currently any attorney who tries that will find themselves in hot water in this part of the country. We recommend avoiding probate when practical, but there are occasions when probate is useful.

    Everyone should have a will, a durable power of attorney, and a living will or advance health care directive. Trusts can be very useful and are more private, but are not a panacea and should be used only if there is plenty of thought given to what can happen to people and assets over time. Some assets such as NFA items require disposition in a specific way to qualify for a no-tax transfer, and you want to make sure that if a recipient of a firearm becomes disqualified, appropriate alternative are clearly stated.
     
  4. berettaprofessor

    berettaprofessor Member

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    Report them to the State Bar assoc. I'm not a lawyer, nor do I play one on TV, but that sounds a little unethical.
     
  5. gunlaw

    gunlaw Member

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    In Missouri there is a fee schedule in the Probate code. If an attorney has additional work that is not compensated by the fee schedule he/she can petition the court for additional fees.
     
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  6. AlexanderA
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    AlexanderA Member

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    I would love to debate this, but I'm afraid that would be outside the scope of this forum. Suffice it to say that there are many circumstances where a will is contraindicated.
    If an NFA item is legally inherited, even if it's through intestate succession or through the residual clause of a will, it can still qualify for a tax-free transfer on a Form 5. I would definitely not specifically mention an NFA item in a will.
     
  7. rust collector
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    rust collector Moderator Staff Member

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    The original post did not specifically address firearms, so the thread is subject to being closed. If we steer it in the direction of passing firearms to intended beneficiaries, however, there may be something of interest to others contemplating this.

    First, the usual disclaimer that nothing in this discussion is intended as legal advice. Next, a reminder that unless a will is filed in a public office, it is a confidential document that is subject to change at any time that a testator acts with testamentary capacity. Finally, in my experience, a designated personal representative may and often does decide not to formally probate a will, because many of the assets have been sold, gifted or otherwise transferred. With that in mind, please explain when a will is contraindicated.
     
  8. Riomouse911

    Riomouse911 Member

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    My former neighbor was an attorney specializing in probate, wills, trusts, etc.

    He charged a fee for wills and trusts. Made a few bucks doing this.

    He made a MINT on contested probate cases where family members paid him to go to court as they fought like cats over every last thing (guns included) when the deceased left no will, trust or other directive.

    Make your heirs know who gets what gun, and things are much better in the long run.

    Stay safe.
     
  9. lionking

    lionking Member

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    Actually doing this myself right now being finalized next month. I suggest leaving a power of attorney document where someone can get it if need be but do not give it to them outright while healthy, it literally is a document that gives power over all your life and wealth. While I'm relative young and healthy after loosing my friend two years ago decided to do this so the state doesn't get it all.

    For guns, I made a list of who gets what using word pad on a flash drive and am handing it over to my most trusted friend so he knows, I will not and suggest not making a list for all to see especially strangers I think courts and government don't need to see such a list.
     
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  10. lionking

    lionking Member

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    These days I wouldn't mention anything other than a BB gun in a will
     
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  11. Sniper66

    Sniper66 Member

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    This is a related issue. Some older friends of mine are distributing their firearms to kids and grandkids while still above-ground. This way has one irreplaceable benefit; the benefactor has the joy of giving in real time.
     
  12. StrawHat

    StrawHat Member

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    I have no children or grands that share my interests but I have been giving firearms and tools to folks who would appreciate them for years.


    Kevin
     
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  13. wbbh

    wbbh Member

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    Lucky for me, I have two sons and two grandsons that love firearms. I decided to gift several of my firearms to my sons. It's great to give and I enjoy them receiving and using them while I'm alive. BTW, I got the idea from another shooter that posted it online, I do not recall where, but I shred's appreciate his post.

    As for a will dispositioning your firearms, here in South Carolina, if you do not have a will your spouse will receive one-half of your intestate estate and your children will receive the other half. If there are no children, the surviving spouse would receive the entire intestate estate. Check with a lawyer in your state.
     
  14. AlexanderA
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    AlexanderA Member

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    Exactly. That's typical for most, if not all, states. If you are happy with the state's plan for disposition, there is no need for a will.

    On the other hand, writing a will that plays favorites among your heirs is a recipe for family dissension.
     
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  15. Mike OTDP

    Mike OTDP Member

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    The biggest advantage of having a will is that the executor and your heirs can get to work immediately. One thing you might want to consider is a codicil...either formal or informal.

    Example: I have neither wife nor children. My sister would therefore inherit everything. If she takes the gun collection to the LGS, they'll give her one-third the value and laugh all the way to the bank. Especially since there are high-end antiques and NFA in Vaults 1 and 2. So a letter with directions on how to get the most value would be very useful.
     
  16. TomJ
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    TomJ Contributing Member

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    I talked to my two sons about which guns they wanted. While both go shooting and will keep my guns, which particular guns they inherit was not a concern. I've seen families get torn apart when trying to divide assets and wanted to make sure who gets what gun will not cause problems between them.
     
  17. wbbh

    wbbh Member

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    Absolutely! There are several auction houses with whom you could arrange with to sell your collection to get your family the best return short of selling them individually.
     
  18. rust collector
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    rust collector Moderator Staff Member

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    The definition of codicil may vary from state to state, but here a codicil is a change or amendment of an existing will. Because they require the same formality as a will (two witnesses and a notary public for a self-proving will here) it was usually considered better practice to complete a new will.
    If provided for in the will, a separate exhibit may in some states be used to make specific bequests, and this may be changed by the maker of the will as assets and circumstances change, without the formality of witnesses and notaries. Face to face gifts are good, but as noted elsewhere, one must be careful to address the potential for claims of undue influence or duress. These are things that an attorney can help with because most have seen what misunderstanding, fear and resentment can do.
     
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