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Should You Create a Gun Trust?

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Jeffrey Lash claimed he was a spy, a post-9/11 special operative, and that he lived in the celebrity neighborhood of Pacific Palisades in Los Angeles where the average home price is $2.7 million.

But one day, police found Lash dead in his car, with $5 million worth of guns in his Palisades home.

Suddenly, all the lies came out about a man who was nothing of what he led people to believe.

One hot July day, Los Angeles police discovered Lash dead, decomposing in his SUV, not far from a condominium that was filled with hundreds of rifles and pistols, $230,000 in cash and more than 6 tons of ammunition.

Responding police were shocked that the weight from the ammo hadn’t caused the condominium to collapse.

According to police, Lash’s gun collection was completely legal and everything had been legally obtained.

The twist, it turned out, was that Lash didn’t own the condominium, but he had stayed there for years after convincing a woman to let him move in.

Lash had told his friend, Catherine N., that he was a former government agent with a top-secret security clearance.

He said he performed counter-terrorism operations, hostage rescues, anti-harassment missions and he rescued people from cults.

He was on a mission to save the world, he told people.

For years, he told his friend Catherine not to go in his bedroom because it contained sensitive government files, classified data and the contact information for the members of his team.

When Lash would run into his neighbors, he told them his name was Bob, and he told them the same basic story he told everyone.

He explained to them that he had 200,000 people on his payroll and that his company was responsible for thwarting upward of two-thirds of the post-9/11 bomb and terror threats.

A neighbor had once questioned Lash about why he was sitting in his car for such a long time, “National security!” he yelled out the window.

Turns out, Lash had been involved in romantic relationships with at least 6 different women at the time of his death.

And police confirmed that he did not hold a top-secret security clearance and there was no government work. At the age of 60, Lash had died of natural causes.

Yet, he left no will and years after his death, the women who loved him continued to fight in court over his millions in guns and ammo.

Jeffrey Lash was a con-artist, liar, womanizer, and avid gun collector.

The thing is, through all the lies and deceitfulness, Lash legally owned a collection of firearms worth millions.

But when he died, he left the guns to no one, causing a court battle.

This is an example of why you may want to (or might not want to) consider setting up a gun trust. What is a gun trust?

Basically, a gun trust is a revocable or irrevocable management trust that is created to take title to firearms.

Revocable trusts are more common since they can be amended and changed during the lifetime of the grantor.

Any legally owned weapon can be placed into a gun trust however, these trusts are more specifically used for weapons that are classified under the National Firearms Act (NFA) Title II of the Gun Control Act of 1968.

Legal protections for your heirs. A gun trust allows for an orderly transfer of weapons upon the death of the grantor to a family member or their heir.

However, the transferee must go through a background check before taking possession of the firearms.

In other words, the grantor should name as the final beneficiary a person or entity they know will be able to accept the weapons if the initial designated heir cannot, due to failure of the background check.

NFA Title II weapons. Another reason to consider a gun trust is when owning NFA Title II weapons such as a suppressor, which can only be used by the person to whom it is registered.

A gun trust can be used to allow for the use of the Title II weapon by multiple parties.

Each party who will have access to and use of the weapon must be a co-trustee of the gun trust and must go through the same required background check.

A few examples of Title II weapons are a fully automatic machine gun, a short-barreled rifle or a suppressor.

Gun collectors. If you own a large collection of firearms, it may make sense to transfer ownership of these weapons to a gun trust, even if you don’t own any Title II weapons.

Upon the death of a person, states require probate inventories, which are public documents filed with the court and are available for anyone to see.

All firearms included in an estate would be listed on the inventory, along with the market value of each item.

However, if the guns were owned by a trust, they would not be included.

Remember, I’m not a lawyer, but I would definitely contact one if you think a gun trust might be a good option for you.

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