View Full Version : Differences between a Trust and CLEO sign off?

June 8, 2008, 12:07 PM
Hello, I'm getting closer to buying my first NFA, possibly a Mac in 9mm or maybe an UZI. My question is, the dealer here who I have been talking too, mentions both methods of a transfer. Getting the CLEO here to sign off on it...or going the Trust way. To me, it sounds easier to go the Trust way, but I'm not sure. I don't forsee any problems with the CLEO by the way and neither does the dealer.

Is one way better than the other? Both ways seem to be taking about the same time to process. The dealer says he can do the Trust and uses the same program an Attorney would use. He does charge $50 for that by the way.

Any thoughts?

Rant Casey
June 8, 2008, 12:11 PM
I had my attorney set up a trust, I don't think getting the LEO sign off would have been an issue but even so, I prefer the path of least resistance in anything I do. My trust was a lot more than 50 dollars, so I will comment and say with all things being equal, go with the trust, especially if you plan on purchasing more than one in your life time. Saves you quite a bit of hassle.

June 8, 2008, 08:43 PM
Am I safe in assuming that all attorney's can do the Trust thing? I do have an Attorney that I have used in my divorce issues, will she know what I'm trying to accomplish? Is this trust merely a legal document that she will be able to do for me or will I have to find an Att. thats handles Trusts for NFA items?

Rant Casey
June 8, 2008, 09:07 PM
I would get one who is atleast familiar with NFA laws to be safe.

June 8, 2008, 10:08 PM
The NFA dealer I have been talking to says he can do the Trust for $50, and goes on to say that it's the same form or program that an Att. would use. Does this guy have to be an Att to be able to do a Trust?

June 8, 2008, 10:26 PM
Just go buy Quicken WillMaker and do it yourself. Revocable living trust is what you want to create.

June 8, 2008, 10:32 PM
I just went through making a will and trust for the things I have now. Is this trust for an NFA weapon something that can be added to that or is it a seperate form? Does doing it yourself lessen your chances of getting approved by the ATF or does the trust even go across their desk?

June 9, 2008, 08:37 AM
They make sure the trust is legal by state laws, which it will be if you follow Quicken's directions.

I made a separate trust JUST for my NFA items - it's a bad idea to mix them with other assets.

June 15, 2008, 01:34 PM
I've went the CLEO signoff path for 3 purchases now. Each time I've received the signature within 24 hours of dropping off the form, and without a single question being asked.

I prefer this route because: (1) I don't have to pay for a trust; (2) the guns are in my name and the form 4 is easy to understand

June 21, 2008, 06:13 PM
I got the CLEO signoff for my first 3 purchases. I picked up Quicken Willmaker and put my trust together last week. The software was about $50 (couldn't find it on sale anywhere that day). I decided to go with the trust for a few reasons:

1) Time - it takes the sheriff about a week to sign the forms and return them to me.
2) Money - Passport photos are $8 and change. After 6 or 7 purchases, the software pays for itself. I'm not even going to try to kid myself - there are going to be a whole lot more than 7 NFA items in my safe. I've got paperwork for 2 SBRs sitting here, and I'll be picking up a Trident before the end of the year. There's 6 right there.
3) Fingerprints - I can print myself at work, but it's a pain. Much easier to send a copy of the trust in.
4) Multiple users. My brother is on the trust, so are my best friend and my dad. If they want to shoot the fun stuff and I'm not available, they can still take it if it's on the trust. This also lets me split the cost of NFA items with my brother since we use the item independently. Right now he can only use my cans or subgun if I'm there.

June 21, 2008, 06:53 PM
Been out of the loop here for a few months but I can see its time for me to get back in...

If you can effect a transfer to yourself as an individual and avoid using a trust, do so. Only use a trust as a last resort if you cannot get a CLEO signoff. BATFE is taking a harder look at trusts than ever before and IMO, the slight convenience of using a trust is far outweighed by the additional scrutiny BATFE is now placing on them and the legal ramifications if you don't do it right and BATFE later determines your trust is invalid. Additionally, if you're going to use a trust, I'd strongly advise you to see an attorney in your state to do it rather than using an off the shelf program which may not tell you all the formalities of properly executing the trust, or completely up to date as to your state's law. Quicken and such programs may be a good starting point, but see a professional. Trust transfers became popular under Ken Houchens at NFA, but as I now understand it, he's gone and the new interim director is not nearly as NFA friendly.

June 25, 2008, 03:05 PM
If you have any questions about the validity of trusts call the NFA line directly, You can get a guy in the line in about 5 minutes and they are very helpfull:cool: