06 August 2020

Arsenal Attorneys' Matthew Bergstrom will teach a seminar for lawyers on August 20 entitled "Firearms in Estate Administration: Legal Issues, Executor Liability, Transferring Title I and II Guns, Penalties--Understanding Gun Legal Designations, In-State and Out-of-State Transfers, Use of Gun Trusts." Mr. Bergstrom will be joined by attorneys Michael W. Zarlenga and Sam Hosey to deliver the program. This continuing legal education program is sponsored by Strafford Publications, and attendees may earn CLE credit as may be required by their state bar. 

This CLE webinar will guide estate planners and administrators on managing the legal challenges of firearms in estate and trust administration. The panel will discuss federal gun laws and firearm designations, issues for beneficiaries inheriting guns, in-state and out-of-state transfers, and legal ownership. The panel will also review the use of trusts and other entities to transfer guns legally, and best practices to avoid mishaps in the administration of estates or trusts holding firearms.


Program Description

The administration of an estate holding firearms can cause increased expenses, fees, taxes, and potential liability if mishandled. Managing guns within an estate requires an in-depth knowledge of a myriad of federal and state regulations to adhere to in order to avoid excessive fines and criminal liability.

The National Firearms Act (NFA) encompasses strict prohibitions and restrictions on the transfer of certain firearms. Prohibited possession can be actual or constructive, with zero tolerance for inadequate processes in the acquisition. Also, state laws will apply to transfers or sales of firearms within their jurisdictions. If there is an out-of-state transfer or sale of a gun, compliance with federal and state laws becomes more complicated.

Estate planners and executors must be mindful of the possibility that some beneficiaries may be ineligible to receive firearms and consider alternative methods to align with a client's intent, such as naming alternate recipients or by creating a gun trust. Trusts can legally hold the firearms and allows a trustee to lawfully possess the firearms and minimize administration issues regarding the transfer or sale of firearms during probate.

The panel will discuss the classification, ownership, and transfer rules applicable to firearms, and the creation and use of guns trusts and other planning methods to ensure the proper administration of an estate holding firearms.

Seminar Outline 

Firearm classification, ownership, and transfer rules
- Federal and state gun laws
- Title I vs. Title II firearms
- In-state and out-of-state transfers

Handling the estate administration of firearms
- Key considerations for gifts and bequests
- Valuation
- Legal ownership
- Potential penalties and liability

Gun trusts
- Key provisions
- Liability issues
- Sale or transfer of estate-held firearms

Best practices for estate planners and administrators 



The panel will review these and other key issues:
- The impact of federal and state gun laws on estate administration
- Valuation issues for firearms and processes to overcome them
- Transferring or selling Title I vs. Title II firearms
- In-state vs. out-of-state transfer processes and considerations
- Handling the estate administration of firearms outside of a trust
- Creating gun trusts and critical provisions


For more information, contact Arsenal Attorneys or Strafford Publications.


This blog is for educational purposes only and is not intended as legal advice or to create an attorney-client relationship. Arsenal Attorneys currently serve clients in the following states (subject to change): Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon,Pennsylvania, Tennessee,Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, and West Virginia.

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Fairfax, VA 22033

We serve clients in most states across America.