Estate Planning for Firearm Disposal
November 20, 2019
The New York Safe Act provides guidelines regarding when and how to handle the disposition of a gun belonging to a recently deceased person. The rule states that within 15 days of the gun owner’s death, the gun must be disposed of according to the law, or it must be handed over to police until a lawful ownership transfer takes place. If this is not done, the person left in charge of such property can be charged with the unlawful possession of a firearm.
Seeing as the purpose of creating an estate plan is partly to save your loved ones from the worries of sorting out your wishes and physical belongings, it would be a major oversight to leave out a plan for your firearms, especially if it could be the basis of logistical difficulties and criminal charges that have the potential to result in hefty fines or even jail time.
Because it is illegal to transport weapons without the appropriate permits and authorizations, it should be noted that taking the firearm from the deceased home with the intention to drop it off at the police station could result in charges. The better approach is to place a call to the local police to have them come by to retrieve the gun.
Transfer to a Beneficiary
It may be indicated in a will that the gun will be left to a particular person. However, the executor of the will can be held criminally liable if the transfer is not handled properly. The executor must determine that the deceased legally owned the gun, that the beneficiary is legally allowed to own the firearm, and that the transfer adheres to all legal guidelines, which are typically handled through the local police department.
The New York Safe Act establishes that the executor must seek approval from a probate judge to make the transfer. The transfer must take place within two years after the date the firearm was placed in police care. Despite the probate court’s involvement in the transfer, the firearm transfer will not become part of public record.
Some guns are historical artifacts from the Civil War or a family heirloom rifle dating back generations. A different type of estate planning is available for the owners of these types of firearms. Since business entities can obtain gun licenses, these rare or irreplaceable guns can be transferred to a trust or a corporation that will take possession of the gun and possibly offer it to a museum or other exhibit for display.
Brooklyn Estate Planning Lawyers at Korsinsky & Klein, LLP Help Gun Owners Plan for Posthumous Firearm Transfers
As firearm trusts and transfers become more in demand, the Brooklyn estate planning lawyers at Korsinsky & Klein, LLP have extensive experience with the processes involved to ensure that your wishes for your firearms will be preserved without becoming a burden to your loved ones. Contact us online or call us at 212-495-8133 for an initial consultation. Located in Brooklyn, New York, and Lakewood, New Jersey, we serve clients in Manhattan, Long Island, and Westchester, New York.