There are many advantages for you today, and for your loved ones when you’re gone, if you have a good estate plan in place. For gun owners, one of the most important steps in estate planning is creating a gun trust that will “hold” your guns for you today and for your heirs in the future. Having this type of trust can provide you with a variety of benefits, but it can also offer your loved ones some important protections when you pass away. Without a gun trust in place, some or all of the following things could occur.
Gun Ownership Becomes Public
When you die, most belongings that are not in a legal trust will need to go through the probate court in order to be passed on to your heirs. The probate process is a matter of public record, so if a gun passes on to a relative, everyone will have the ability to know this. For many people, this is a serious violation of their privacy and should be avoided if possible.
Loved Ones Inadvertently Violate the Law
If a gun passes to a loved one upon death, they may actually be breaking the law without even realizing it. If your heir lives in an area where gun ownership is restricted, for example, this type of inheritance could cause problems. If you have an heir that is prohibited from owning guns due to prior legal issues, this too could cause serious issues. Having your firearms in a gun trust, however, will ensure your heirs do not become the legal owners of these guns so they aren’t breaking any laws.
No Need for Fingerprints or Photos
When an individual buys a firearm, they typically need to have their fingerprints and photo taken to be run through the FBI’s criminal database. If you have your loved ones listed as owners or authorized users of the gun trust, this process won’t be necessary.
Create a Gun Trust Today
While there are other options such as using an LLC or a revocable trust to protect your guns, none of them were designed specifically with this task in mind. Using a gun trust is the ideal option for protecting yourself, your firearms, and your loved ones from any problems associated with passing your firearms on to your loved ones. Contact the Pence Law Firm, P.C. to discuss your options, and begin a gun trust for you right away.
Oklahoma Estate Planning: Wills vs. Trusts
When starting the process of estate planning, all the options and choices can be overwhelming. For most people, understanding the difference between a Will and a Trust is one of the first obstacles to overcome. This post will explain the differences and help you understand how each one can be used in your estate plan.
What is a Will?
A Will is a legal document that is used to identify your final wishes for your estate. It is by far the most common type of estate planning device, and virtually every adult should have one in place regardless of the size of their estate. A Will goes into effect only after you have died, so it will have no impact on your day to day life or how your estate is managed until your death. If you only have a Will in place, and no other estate planning tools, your entire estate will typically have to go through the probate process. This is where the court gathers your estate, evaluates its value, settles all debts, and distributes your assets according to your wishes listed in your Will.
What are Trusts?
A legal Trust is a type of estate planning tool that allows you to plan out what you want to happen with your estate now and after you have passed away. There are many different types of Trusts available, each designed to accomplish specific goals. Unlike Wills, a Trust can go into effect while you are still living. Another thing that sets Trusts apart from Wills is that they typically won’t have to go through the probate process, which will save your loved ones a lot of time and money when the time comes.
One of the most important things for using Trusts is choosing the right type. When going through the estate planning process, you and your attorney will pick which types of Trusts are needed to accomplish your goals. You can have multiple different Trusts, or just one, depending on your needs. Some of the most common types of Trusts are:
- Revocable Trusts – A revocable Trust can be changed or even revoked as long as you are still living. This gives you a lot of flexibility, and is often used by people who likely still have quite a few years of life ahead of them.
- Irrevocable Trusts – This type of Trust can not be modified or revoked after it is in place. While this does limit your options, it comes with certain legal and tax benefits that make it a great option for many situations.
- Charitable Trust – Placing assets into a charitable Trust will allow you to give money or other assets to your favorite charity after you die. You can set up the Trust to ensure the charity uses the money in very specific ways, which can help to ensure your money is used in the best way possible.
- Special Needs Trust – If you have a loved one with special needs, you can set up a Trust that will provide them with the assets needed for their care long after you are gone. You can specify how the money is to be used as well so you know it will be there for your loved one when it is needed.
Working with an Estate Planning Attorney
An estate planning attorney will work with you to identify your specific needs, and tailor your estate plan to meet them. When done properly, an estate plan will include both a Will and Trusts, all set up in such a way as to ensure the assets you have worked for your entire life will be there when you need them and will then be distributed according to your wishes. Please contact us to discuss your estate planning needs in greater detail.