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Major Kong

DIY NFA Trust

12 posts in this topic

Has anyone gone the route of doing their own NFA Trust, using Quicken Willmaker or NOLO.com? If so, care to share your experiences with it? I hear good things about it and it's certainly cheaper than going the lawyer route.

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From everything I've seen, the BATF folks will approve the transfer with a self-prepared trust, however, I wouldn't reccomend going that route even though it's cheaper. I am an attorney, so take it with a grain of salt. I'm not fishing for business here, but you need to understand that there are some concerns with using a trust that was not prepared specifically to deal with firearms. Better to have the trust prepared correctly for what you will use it for on the front end.

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Agreed with the above. We have several attorneys here on TGO who are Vendors specializing in NFA trusts. I'd give one of them a shout.

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I am using Willmaker based on the suggestions of many others on the Saiga 12 forum who have successfully done it that way with their SBSs.

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It's not the approval you have to worry about, rather it's down the road if/when the ATF takes a closer look and finds something out of whack with your trust - then you have a big problem

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It's not the approval you have to worry about, rather it's down the road if/when the ATF takes a closer look and finds something out of whack with your trust - then you have a big problem

Exactly.

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It's not the approval you have to worry about, rather it's down the road if/when the ATF takes a closer look and finds something out of whack with your trust - then you have a big problem

That was my understanding as well. I explored the idea of doing a DIY NFA trust and decided against it. Examples I have encountered on various websites have noted how the wording on many DIY trusts (including Willmaker) doesn't actually create a legally binding trust for NFA purposes. If the wording is not correct, you are essentially in illegal possession of NFA items from the moment you take possession of them because a legal trust doesn't exist. We all know how jacked up our legal system is and how lawyers have done a spectacular job at crafting laws that demand every single word, letter, and punctuation mark be absolutely correct for a document to be legal (I mean that with no ill will towards our lawyer friends on TGO). I'm personally not comfortable risking the loss of expensive NFA items, the cost associated with a criminal defense, and the risk of a felony conviction in federal court to save a few bucks using Willmaker.

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With the average NFA trust costing $450 it wouldn't be worth it to go the "diy" route. Most Quicken trusts posts are years old and I haven't heard anyone going that route in the last year. Not too mention the rumors that they have been getting revoked months after approval.

The word is that the ATF is now reviewing NFA trusts created by things like Quicken Will Maker or LegalZoom and invalidating them after the transfer application has been approved. One of the problems is that the typical revocable living trust directs the trustee to do things with trust assets that violates NFA rules.

Imagine what a headache this would be to pay for a LegalZoom trust, wait the 8-9 months to get your Form 4 application approved, complete the purchase of your weapon, then have the ATF invalidate your trust some months later. Then you've got to redo the trust and go through the approval process again.

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My brother is an attorney but doesn't do Trust work. There was an ATF attorney at his CLE class this year. He attended the ATF guy's section and then talked for a while after the course.

The ATF is looking at existing NFA Trusts to see if they are legal. Prior approval really doesn't matter as you present the Trust to the ATF as a legal document and they accept it as such. People who used attorneys are more protected as they based their presentation of the legal document on the opinion of a legal expert (the attorney). There have been some people that have had to jump thru serious legal hoops who used a computer based program. The programs usually have in the fine print that you (the owner of the program) must ensure that the trust meets state legal requirements and the software maker isn't responsible. Basically by using an attorney, you went to reasonable lengths to ensure the legality of the trust. By using a software program that has "terms and condition", you are not going to a reasonable length.

If your quicken trust is determined to be illegal, you're going to pay far more than the $450-$600 for a trust to avoid real penalties.

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As a closure to this thread, I ended up working my trust through Chip Cain and was extremely happy with his services. I highly recommend him to anyone interested in a NFA trust.

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Chip Cain did mine as well. Great experience. I was considering the DIY route too, but in the long run it saved me a little heart burn knowing it was done right. And after seeing the 19 page document and legal mumbo jumbo I'm glad I didn't have to sort it out on my own. The price was worth the peace of mind.

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