In 2020, an estimated 35.3% of adults in Florida reported as owning a gun and guns are assets that can be transferred, valued, appraised and auctioned.

In the State of Florida, the National Firearms Act (NFA) is what restricts and regulates ownership of certain types of firearms allowed in the state. Individual ownership means that the Title 1 or Title II firearms are directly owned by a single person and there are very specific guidelines for Title II firearms.

Title I firearms include ordinary pistols, revolvers, and rifles. Title II firearms are more advanced and include short barrel shotguns, silencers, suppressors, machine guns, and other devices that are destructive.

For people who legally want to transfer their firearms to a designated person or to someone in their family when the individual owner becomes in capacitated or passes away, the NFA has very strict guidelines for how Title II weapons can be transferred.

When a Title II gun is licensed to a single person,
what happens if that person becomes incapacitated or passes away?

Without the appropriate transfer planning documents, if at any point the individual owner becomes incapacitated, the firearms that fall under Title II would be subject to government confiscation and criminal liability for anyone possessing those firearms. For the purposes of this article, the terms “firearm” and “gun” do not include antiques and replicas. Antiques and replicas are defined as being manufactured before or after 1918 and do not have ammunition available in the United States or through normal commercial avenues.

Provided there is a will in place to instruct the transfer of assets, as a Florida resident, when the individual owner passes away, the firearms would go through the court-supervised probate process to finalize the transfer of the firearms to the beneficiaries or other another designated transferee.

Probate is a court supervised process that can be very expensive, and the transfer would be a matter of public record. The person who is elected as the executor of the individual’s estate would submit an application with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. After the application is approved, the NFA firearm transfer could be finalized.

How can the probate process be avoided?

Because the probate process can be lengthy and expensive, an alternative to individual ownership is a Florida Gun Trust. A Gun Trust is also called a Firearms Trust, Title II Trust or NFA Trust. A Florida Gun Trust can purchase and own Title II firearms.

A Florida Gun Trust helps avoid the criminal liability of owning, using, and sharing a Title II gun. Title II firearms can be used by any of the qualified trustee members that are not prohibited to own a Title II firearm.

If the grantor of the trust becomes incapacitated or passes away, the Florida Gun Trust allows for private inheritance without the potential for criminal liability or probate. This also allows for the transfer of firearms to be handled in a private document and would not be a matter of public record.

DiFranza Law Can Help with a Florida Gun Trust

For our clients who choose to exercise their rights to bear arms in the State of Florida, Attorney Lisa DiFranza works with all clients without judgement for their personal beliefs, life choices, and legal rights to own firearms. As with all of our clients, it is our duty to assist each person in making sure their personal wishes are heard and honored if they become incapacitated or after they pass. If you own firearms and would like to discuss a Florida Gun Trust or need to make revisions to an existing Florida Gun Trust, DiFranza Law can help. Click here to schedule a consultation.