Photo of attorneys at Andrews Terry Jeffers LLP.

At Andrews Terry Jeffers LLP,
Trust Is Everything

Three potential pitfalls about having guns in an estate plan

On Behalf of | Jul 5, 2022 | Estate Planning and Probate |

Estate planning is a smart way for someone to ensure their loved ones remain financially taken care of. While valuing their Washington estates, many people will think of certain items like homes, vehicles, and boats. However, there are other items of value that sometimes end up forgotten about in wills and trusts: guns. Here are a few potential pitfalls that can arise when guns are part of your estate.

Avoiding prohibited persons

When someone administers an estate, they mustn’t distribute guns from someone’s estate to any prohibited persons. The Gun Control Act of 1968 banned any prohibited persons from possessing or receiving both ammunition and firearms. Your seemingly nice gesture of leaving a firearm to a family member who is a prohibited person can wind up getting this person in a lot of potential trouble.

Rules about firearms vary by state

Another problem that can arise when involving firearms in estate planning and probate involves state laws. What’s legal in one state is sometimes illegal in another state. Before gifting guns to loved ones, make sure you and the other party won’t violate any state laws through this agreement.

Laws change over time

As you know from learning about things like prohibition, laws change over time. What’s perfectly acceptable in one decade can be illegal in another decade. Considering that, it’s important to remember that the firearms or firearm accessories you leave in your estate plan could become illegal weaponry at some point.

To wrap things up, it’s important to use caution before including firearms in your estate plan. If you’re not aware of national and state-wide firearm laws, you could end up getting your loved ones in trouble.