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What to Know When Setting Up a Gun Trust?

When setting up a gun trust, it is important to understand that the main purpose of a gun trust is ensuring compliance with local, state, and federal gun laws. Primarily, this means creating a framework that sets a responsible, trustworthy person in charge of managing the gun trust after you, as well as ensuring that no firearms are transferred to illegal recipients, such as convicted felons. Gun trusts are not for avoiding or breaking the law, but rather working within the current legal frameworks to accomplish your goals and protect your firearms from improper use or transfer.

Establishing a gun trust in Wisconsin

What is a gun trust under Wisconsin law?

A gun trust is just like any other trust – it is a legal entity connected to a three (3) way relationship between the creator (“settlor” or “grantor”) of the trust, the manager and administrator of the trust (“trustee”), and the recipients of the trust’s benefits (“beneficiaries”). Typically, the creator of the trust is initially designated as both trustee and the beneficiary of the trust, for practical purposes in managing the creator’s own firearms and property. However, after the creator’s death or incapacity, a new successor trustee must take over to manage the trust and legally transfer any firearms to the trust’s beneficiaries. Gun trusts may also have multiple beneficiaries during the creator’s life, which allow other people to use and enjoy the trust’s firearms so long as they comply with the law as described in the trust agreement.

How do gun trusts work in Wisconsin?

Gun trusts in Wisconsin work by having the creator sign a professionally drafted gun trust agreement, which puts the trust into place and existence. Then a list is typically attached to the Trust which describes all of the firearms and other property currently owned by the gun trust framework. This list should be updated and reviewed at least annually, or as often as new firearms are brought in or out of the trust’s ownership framework. Any beneficiaries of the trust should also be periodically reviewed and/or updated, to ensure they are legally capable of complying the federal gun laws (ex: not having been convicted of a felony or crime of domestic violence).

Contact Our Gun Trust Attorneys

If you are considering establishing a gun trust in Wisconsin, give our attorneys a call at 262-622-3814. We’re here to help you establish gun trusts, wills, and other estate planning documents.