A new rule issued by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives contains provisions for administrators of estates, according to an article in Forbes “Gun Trust Loophole Closed, Background Checks For All.”
Most of the attention to the rule that went into effect on July 13, 2016 has been centered on what it means for using gun trusts as a way to transfer ownership of firearms, but the rule clarifies two major points for estate administration.
The first is that an executor or personal representative of an estate that contains firearms can take possession of the weapons without it being considered a transfer. This protects the executor from liability for possession of an unregistered weapon under the National Firearms Act.
The second clarification is that the estate can transfer a firearm to the beneficiary of the estate without paying the transfer tax. Transferring firearms to a non-beneficiary still requires that the tax be paid.
These clarifications make things a little easier for executors, but it is still not advisable to administer an estate that includes firearms without the assistance of an attorney. Transferring guns can still be a legal landmine of federal, state and local laws.
An estate planning attorney can guide you in following the rules on the firearms laws.
Reference: Forbes (July 13, 2016) “Gun Trust Loophole Closed, Background Checks For All”