Gun Trusts

NFA Gun Trusts for Maine and Massachusetts - Red Dog Legal

Gun owners in Maine and Massachusetts and throughout Northern New England have come to rely on Red Dog Legal to help them create comprehensive and affordable NFA gun trusts.  As the market-leader in providing attorney-drafted in the region, Red Dog Legal has prepared hundreds of gun trusts for our clients since 2014 and can provide valuable know-how that generalist estate planners lack.  Gun trusts are our specialty.

When working with Red Dog Legal to create your gun trust, you'll get support from a licensed attorney — which isn't possible when using a DIY gun trust service (which may or may not be suitable for Maine residents and almost certainly inadequate for those in Massachusetts).  Furthermore, these cheap "do-it-your-self" gun trusts cannot be customized for your individual situation, nor do they address the specific legal requirements unique to ownership of firearms in Massachusetts.

Our fee includes comprehensive services, including support with the ATF submission process.  And unlike many of our competitors, our firearms trusts can be used for conventional firearms as well as NFA items!

Our low flat fee includes legal guidance by a lawyer licensed to practice in Massachusetts and Maine.  Our attorney will help clients select the appropriate terms for their NFA trusts, the drafting of a comprehensive suite of gun trust documents, guidance on execution of the documents, and guidance on the ATF application process.  We know that submitting your first NFA application can be intimidating (particularly a Form 1 for making an NFA item), and that's why our flat fee includes legal guidance and support, not just documents.

Scroll down for more information regarding gun trusts, including updates on the efiling process for trusts and an FAQ.


eForms is Back!

The ATF is once again accepting e-filing of NFA Form 1 applications on their eForms platform.  Approvals for electronically filed Form 1 applications by gun trusts (for making SBRs and other NFA items) are now averaging around sixty days.  This means that firearms owners can now get their NFA stamps much faster than in recent memory.  Please contact us with any questions about how to e-file your NFA application!


Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Gun or NFA Trust?

A Gun or NFA Trust (sometimes also called a "firearms trust") is an legal document designed for acquiring and holding legal title to weapons regulated by the National Firearms Act (or “NFA” for short).  Weapons regulated by the NFA go by various names such as “NFA Items”, “NFA Firearms”, “Title II Firearms” or “Class 3 Firearms”, and include suppressors (known as “silencers” in the National Firearms Act), short barreled rifles (or “SBR”, for short), short barreled shotguns, machine guns, destructive devices, and “any other weapon” (abbreviated as “AOW”).

What are the Benefits of an NFA Trust?

If one uses a Gun Trust to acquire an NFA Firearm, the Gun Trust will purchase and hold title to the firearm. Using a Gun Trust to acquire NFA Items, rather that acquiring them as an individual has many advantages, including:

1. Sharing of NFA Items

Using an NFA Gun Trust, you can appoint other trustees who can lawfully possess firearms held by the trust. In contrast, if you own a Title II Firearm individually, only you, as the registered owner of that Title II Firearm, may lawfully possess that firearm.

2. Estate Planning

Using a gun trust, you can control who will receive your firearms when you die, or provide that the NFA trust shall continue to operate for as long state law will allow.  A trust can last generations in Massachusetts and indefinitely in Maine.  A qualified NFA Gun Trust lawyer can draft a comprehensive multigenerational NFA Trust that can serve as a legacy for your family's enjoyment and security.

3. Contingency Planning

Are you concerned about who will store your firearms if you become incapacitated or are become legally prohibited from owning guns?  A gun trust can allow you to plan for these sorts of contingencies.  You will also have the option to add one or more trustees (in multiple states) who are knowledgeable about firearms, including NFA Items, who can see to it that your firearms are properly cared for, stored, or transferred in compliance with state and federal law.

What Information Do You Need from Me to Get Started on My Gun Trust? 

We've streamlined our process to make creating your gun trust as easy as possible.  While its usually best to start the engagement with a phone call to answer questions you may have and to get an overview of the process, some clients prefer to get started right away.  At minimum, we'll need the following information to draft your NFA trust:

  • your full name;
  • your physical address;
  • a name for the trust;
  • the name of a successor trustee; and
  • the name of one or more beneficiaries.

What if I Need to Amend My NFA Trust?

We provide forms for adding and removing trustees, adding property to your trust, documenting funding of your trust, and a written statement for responsible persons acquiring firearms (to be provided to FFLs when you purchase firearms on behalf of the trust).  By providing these forms to you, we provide you with the means to make some of the more common changes to your gun trust, without incurring additional expense.  Other common changes to your trust, such as changing the governing law (when you move to a different state), changing the successor trustee or beneficiary, or removing a settlor/grantor, are best done by a lawyer.  If we drafted your gun trust, we can make most changes for a low price.  We're happy to review and amend trusts prepared by other lawyers or even DIY gun trusts, but be advised that these usually involve a little more review and sometimes substantial changes.  Therefore the price is often higher.  Contact us today to get a quote on amending your NFA trust.

Do Your NFA Trusts Use a Schedule of Assets or An Assignment Page?

Our trust uses an assignment page, which provides more privacy from the prying eyes at the ATF.  A schedule of assets requires you to provide a full list of firearms and accessories owned by the trust whenever you submit a Form 1 or Form 4 application to the ATF.

What NFA Items Can I Own in Massachusetts?  

In Massachusetts, you can own SBRs, machine guns (if you have a machine gun license or "green card"), factory manufactured short barreled shotguns, AOWs and destructive devices.  Only law enforcement personnel (while acting in their official capacity) may possess suppressors. The most common NFA item for a Massachusetts gun owner to make/acquire with an NFA trust is an SBR.  In fact, due in large part to the restrictions imposed by the Massachusetts Assault Weapons Ban, the Massachusetts Attorney General's Office, and the Executive Office of Public Safety, Massachusetts residents generally make their own SBRs.  (Yes, that's right: you can still build an SBR in Massachusetts!)  Note that the effect of Maura Healey's decree unilaterally expanding the scope of the Massachusetts Assault Weapons Ban has complicated the process for making SBRs.  Our NFA trusts have been used by countless clients in Massachusetts to receive their SBR tax stamp.  If you have questions about what can and can't be done, please contact us! 

Massachusetts residents who have a close friend or family member in Maine or New Hampshire, can appoint that friend or family member as a trustee, who can acquire suppressors on behalf of the NFA trust, and which can be used and enjoyed by trustees in Maine or New Hampshire. The suppressor cannot enter the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, however.

What NFA Items Can I Own in Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont?

In Maine, Vermont, and New Hampshire, all NFA items are legal (silencers/suppressors, SBRs, short barreled shotguns, machine guns, Destructive Devices, and AOWs).  Hunting with a suppressor is now legal in Maine, subject to purchase of an additional permit.

My Primary Residence is in Massachusetts, but I have a Summer Home in New Hampshire (or Maine).  Can I Legally Acquire NFA Items or Other Firearms While Visiting My Summer Home?

Yes!  If you have a second home in Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont (or another state), you are in effect, a resident of two states.  This means that while visiting your second home, you may legally acquire firearms, including NFA items in that state.  However, you may not bring any firearms into Massachusetts unless they are legal for you to possess them there.

See Question 2 in the NOTICES, INSTRUCTIONS, AND DEFINITIONS Section of Form 4473:

If the transferee/buyer is a member of the Armed Forces on active duty, his/her State of residence is the State in which his/her permanent duty station is located. If the service member is acquiring a firearm in a State where his/her permanent duty station is located, but resides in a different State, the transferee/buyer must list both his/her permanent duty station address and his/her residence address in response to question 2. If the transferee/buyer has two States of residence, the transferee/ buyer should list his/her current residence address in response to question 2 (e.g., if the transferee/buyer is purchasing a firearm while staying at his/her weekend home in State X, he/she should list the address in State X in response to question 2).

Do you support Gun Rights Organizations?

Absolutely! We actively support the GOAL, Commonwealth 2A, Gun Owners of Maine, and the NRA – both financially as well as with pro bono legal services.

Are NFA Trusts Similar to Conventional Trusts?

Yes, gun trusts are similar in some respects to conventional estate planning trusts. For instance, as with conventional trusts, an NFA trust will hold property subject to certain terms and conditions.  And there will also be a settlor (also called a “donor” or “grantor”), who donates property to the trust; one or more trustees, who will act on behalf of the trust; and one or more beneficiaries of the trust, who will ultimately receive the assets held by the trust or the proceeds of their sale.  Additionally, a gun trust can be either revocable (capable of being revoked or amended) or irrevocable (incapable of being revoked or amended).  Furthermore, gun trusts do not require any registration, disclosure or public filings. The only people who know about your trust are those you choose. That’s where the similarities between gun trusts and conventional trusts end.

Unlike conventional estate planning trusts, a gun trust is a trust tailored specifically for the complex regulatory issues involved in possessing, owning, and transporting NFA items such as SBRs and suppressors. A properly drafted NFA trust will address National Firearms Act regulations as well as those imposed by local and state law. Our Massachusetts NFA trusts are specifically designed to account for the complexities of Massachusetts firearms law.  This is critical, as violation of the NFA or state or local law can be punished severely.  For instance, violation of the National Firearms Act can result in fines of up to $250,000, forfeiture of all firearms weapons and up to 10 years in prison.

A high-quality gun trust drafted by a lawyer specializing firearms law will contain provisions that grant trustees of the NFA Trust the authority they need to use and enjoy the NFA Trust’s property and to properly administer the NFA Trust – but also protect the rights of the settlor and the beneficiaries.  Such a trust will also provide instructions on dealing with both routine and unanticipated events. Unlike assets held by conventional trusts, the sale or distribution of firearms held by a gun trust requires compliance with state and federal law, and therefore requires careful thought and planning.  Choosing an experienced NFA trust attorney is particularly important for gun owners in Massachusetts, as Massachusetts gun laws are complex and full of ambiguities – something which Massachusetts gun owners are all too aware.  At Red Dog Legal, we can help you navigate ambiguities such as Form FA-10 reporting, the Massachusetts Assault Weapon’s Ban or “AWB” and licensing matters.

Do you have other questions? Red Dog Legal offers FREE consultations.  

For more information, please call Red Dog Legal at (207) 206-0287 or send us a message using our Contact Form.

 

 

 

RATES

Custom Attorney Drafted NFA Trust Prices

Maine Gun Trust—$325

Massachusetts Gun Trust—$375

New Hampshire Gun Trust (with co-counsel)—$325

Vermont and other states (with co-counsel)—$325

All of the above prices include legal guidance and support. 

We also price match any fees charged by licensed Maine or Massachusetts attorneys.