Gun Trusts


The Nation Firearms Act (NFA) defined a class of items (Class 3) that are to be federally regulated by the process of approval and taxation. These Class 3 items are:

  • Machine Guns (Automatic Rifles)
  • Suppressors (Silencers)
  • Short Barreled Rifles (Concealable)
  • Short Barred Shotguns (Sawed-off Shotguns)
  • Destructive Devices (Claymore, IED)
  • Large Bore Items (Grenade Launchers)
  • Any Other Weapon (Cane Gun, Pistol with Forward Grip)

These items can be lawfully purchased in most states; however, the buyer must know how to navigate their state and federal laws in order to stay in compliance.

An NFA Trust is the safest way to share Federally regulated firearms with Friends and Family.

The NFA Trust allows other people listed as “Co-Trustees” to be in lawful possession (even accidental possession) of your Class 3 items when you are not present.

The NFA Trust protects your firearms from being listed in public probate court documents, where a judge will determine if and how they will be inherited by your family when you pass. It also allows a clearer designation for who should carry on your items according to your specific wishes.

In the event that you become temporarily prohibited (restraining order, accusation, medical record error), the NFA Trust allows for a Co-Trustee to take possession of your Class 3 items temporarily until your legal issue is resolved. Without the NFA Trust in place, the Maryland State Police would instead be required to enter your home and confiscate your items.

Along with the many legal benefits of the Trust itself, we are also here to help you understand and complete the ATF application process, and navigate the complex legal waters of Class 3 item ownership.


The Family Gun Trust is similar to that of an NFA Trust, but for all other firearms and firearm related accessories NOT regulated by the federal government. These firearms would include Pistols, Long Rifles, Shotguns, etc.

The Family Gun Trust protects your firearms from being publicly listed in probate court documents during inheritance. The Trust will also list specific instructions for how to care and distribute these items carefully and lawfully.

Many people ask why these items shouldn’t be listed in the NFA Trust along with Class 3 items, and there are two primary reasons:

  1. When submitting the NFA Trust to the ATF, you must list all other items in the NFA Trust (known as Schedule A). By keeping all other items in the Family Gun Trust, you can be assured the additional layer of privacy since that document will not be submitted to any Maryland or Federal agency.
  2. Often times, Non-NFA items are considered to be more along the lines of family heirlooms and common use items. The inheritance wishes of these items tend to include family and friends with even only casual interest in firearms. The Class 3 items in an NFA Trust often are either shared or bequeathed to specific individuals who appreciate and wish to maintain such special items.

To learn more or get started on your estate plan, just schedule a time to visit us for a no obligation complimentary consultation.

Commonly Asked Questions

Probate is a court procedure which transfers property the deceased owned into the hands of his/her descendants or beneficiaries.

Probate has two functions, it gets creditors paid and it gets property owned by the deceased retitled to the land of the living. It also gives relatives and friends the opportunity to bring suits against those who claim your property.

Probate can take anywhere from 6-18 months, it varies depending on the size and complication of the estate.

If the deceased person had a will, the probate process is still required and involves the court validating that will. In the old days when someone died, you would have to get someone else to say “Oh yes! That is John Smith’s signature”. This is not how it works now, if you have two witnesses and a notary it is presumed to be valid. After the court verifies the will, the person’s assets are then transferred to his/her beneficiaries.

If the deceased person had a revocable living trust in place and placed his/her assets into the trust, the assets will not have to go through the probate process and will be disbursed by the trustee according to the instructions of the trust, not under the law of the state of Maryland.