FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Q. Why should I have a Washington NFA trust?
Many people use NFA Gun trusts to lawfully buy "NFA Weapons," including machine guns, short barreled rifles and shotguns and sound suppressors (silencers) without having to obtain the consent of their chief of police. While many of these items can be purchased and kept in other states, it is only legal to purchase and use Silencers in the state of Washington. There are many IMPORTANT ADDITIONAL BENEFITS of these trusts for gun owners – not just for purchasers of NFA weapons. The trust is a totally private arrangement. You can leave your guns to members of your family without the intrusion and publicity of the probate system. No one will know about your collection.
Q. I have a revocable trust. Can I use it to acquire NFA firearms?
An "ordinary" revocable trust can hold any asset, including firearms. However, most revocable trusts are created to provide asset management in case of disability and to save estate tax or avoid probate. They do not contain the provisions necessary to comply with the National Firearms Act or state laws in regards to who can own, possess, or transfer these or regular firearms.
Example: The document needs to provide for an alternate trustee if any trustee becomes a "disqualified person." The trust document must give your successor trustee clear instructions on how to lawfully transfer and deliver your NFA firearms to your beneficiaries if you die or become disabled.
Q. Can I create a Washington NFA Trust using "Willmaker" or another software program or obtain one from on line vendors such as Legal Zoom?
Using "generic" software or on line document providers compounds the problems of trying to use most revocable trusts to hold firearms.
Example: People have attempted to set up trusts which were later determined by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives ("BATFE") to be invalid. Since no trust was ever created, the purchase by, or transfer to, the trust of the NFA weapons violated the National Firearms Act. The penalties can be severe. Forfeiting the weapons is only the beginning. Individuals who run afoul of the NFA can be subjected to fines of up to $250,000 and 10 years in prison.
Q. Can I use a corporation or an LLC to acquire NFA firearms in Washington?
You can acquire NFA weapons in a corporation or LLC without having to obtain the consent of your Chief Law Enforecement Officer (CLEO). This is not advisable for several reasons.
Corporate bylaws and LLC operating agreements lack the provisions required to deal with the National Firearms Act. Some information about corporations and LLCs is available to the public. Trust documents are totally private. Corporations and LLCs are required to pay annual fees to the state and to file tax returns. NFA trusts are not subject to these requirements. There are no further administrative costs and fees after you have set up your NFA trust.
Q. Does a Washington NFA trust eliminate the registration requirements for machine guns?
Washington residents may not lawfully own machine guns within the state even if they are were manufactured before May 1986 and are fully transferrable. Your Washington NFA Trust, under certain circumstances, may purchase and keep Machine Guns and other NFA transferrable firearms in states where they are legal as long as you or another trustee is a resident of the state where they are to be purchased.
Q. Does a Washington NFA Trust eliminate the need for background checks?
No. A Washington NFA trust only eliminates the requirement that the chief of police approve of the sale on BATFE Form 4 or Form 1.
Q. What if I have a Washington NFA trust and move to another state?
The National Firearms Act applies uniformly throughout the country. However, the laws relating to the creation and administration of trusts and, more importantly firearms laws, can vary greatly from one state to another. Our NFA trusts are specifically drafted in accordance with Washington statutes. If you move to another state, your NFA trust should be reviewed by a Gun Trust Lawyer in that state.