View Full Version : Sad news leads to question on NFA inheritance...

November 12, 2008, 05:19 PM
A good friend of mine was in a motorcycle accident this past weekend, and he passed away shortly after due to head trauma.

He was 34 years old, divorced, and had a 7 year old son. He did not have a will.

He owned at least 4 NFA items that I am aware of, he was the sole registrant, and he may have had more NFA items that he never disclosed in his safe.

I know the NFA has an inheritance provision, but given the circumstances here and his son's age, what options does the family have?

What do they need to do in order to legally retain ownership of these items?


November 12, 2008, 06:31 PM
Get a lawyer

WildthatswhattheyneedtodoAlaska ™

November 12, 2008, 06:52 PM
Get a lawyer


November 14, 2008, 06:38 AM
> get a lawyer

Okay, let us say you get a lawyer.

How do you get a lawyer who:

a) is willing to deal with the ATF
b) knows, or is willing to learn, the relevant law
c) is willing to take on a "gun case"
d) is willing to touch anything involving
an evil-bad-NFA-gun?
e) has some minimum level of competency?

I'm asking this in absolute seriousness. Earlier this year I bought a house. The closing date kept getting pushed back, and some questioning showed the property was snarled in a maze of nasty paperwork which boiled down to about a dozen people, loan companies, and inheritors claiming pieces of it. Though the realtor claimed he could straighten everything out, I decided to retain an attorney and pay him to double-check all the paperwork before I signed off. This looked fairly simple to me - basic contract law, the staple of the legal profession. Bear in mind I didn't want him to do any investigation, filing, or court work, just to review the documents before I signed them. And I was willing to pay the going rate.

I managed to contact about half of the "law offices" in this and two adjacent towns. I never got to talk to a lawyer, just the staff. None of them seemed interested in taking in any business. I went to a few real estate offices and asked who they used for real estate law. Two had their own lawyers on staff and weren't interested in taking in outside work, three claimed never to use lawyers at all.

Almost half of the "law offices" were just answering machines, and couldn't be bothered to return a call.

I will admit I didn't bother to call any of the places with the half page ads in the phone book, who promised to make me rich by suing the hell out of anyone at all, as long as I could identify a likely victim.

November 14, 2008, 07:31 AM
What about asking the NRA about advice? They should know where to send you.

As an aside, since you are not direct 'family' this may end up down the toilet even if you are trying to help out the young son. It would be very helpful if you were able to work with the ex wife on this.

November 14, 2008, 11:09 AM
I am not a lawyer, but it seems to me the items should be transferred to the next adult kin who wants them. Surely there must be a brother, brother-in-law, father, cousin, SOMEONE down the line?

November 14, 2008, 12:27 PM
A good friend of mine was in a motorcycle accident this past weekend, and he passed away shortly after due to head trauma...

It saddens me to hear we've lost another rider, prayers to all involved.

from the ATF website, hope this helps;

For registered NFA firearms in the estate, the executor should take action as soon as possible to arrange for the proper registration of the firearms. Possession of an NFA firearm not registered to the possessor is a violation of Federal law and the firearm is subject to seizure and forfeiture. However, we do allow the executor a reasonable time to arrange for the transfer of the registered firearms in a decedent's estate. This generally should be done before probate is closed.

It is the responsibility of the executor of the estate to maintain custody and control of the firearms and to transfer the firearms registered to the decedent. The firearms may not be transferred to another party, such as a firearms licensee, for consignment or safekeeping. This would be a transfer subject to the requirements of the NFA. The licensee may assist the executor by identifying purchasers and acting as a broker.

The firearms may be transferred on a tax-exempt basis to a lawful heir. The executor would apply on ATF Form 5, Application for Tax Exempt Transfer and Registration of a Firearm, for a tax-exempt transfer to a lawful heir. A lawful heir is anyone named in the decedent's will or, in the absence of a will, anyone entitled to inherit under the laws of the State in which the decedent last resided. NFA firearms may be transferred directly interstate to a beneficiary of the estate. When a firearm is being transferred to an individual heir, his or her fingerprints on FBI Forms FD-258 must accompany the transfer application. However, if any Federal, State or local law prohibits the heir from receiving or possessing the firearm, ATF will not approve the application.

ATF Form 4 is used to apply for the taxpaid transfer of a serviceable NFA firearm to a person outside the estate (not a beneficiary). ATF Form 5 is also used to apply for the tax-exempt transfer of an unserviceable NFA firearm to a person outside the estate. As noted above, all requirements, such as fingerprint cards for transfers to individuals and compliance with State or local law, must be met before an application may be approved. If an NFA firearm in the estate was imported for use as a "sales sample," this restriction on the firearm's possession remains. The NFA firearm may only be transferred to a Federal firearms licensee who has paid the special (occupational) tax to deal in NFA firearms or to a government agency.

November 14, 2008, 03:29 PM
Go ask on www.subguns.com there a few lawyers there that know NFA and one I think is in Texas. Also, on AR15.com in the Hometown (Texas)section there is a NFA knowledgable lawyer from Houston area.

November 14, 2008, 03:37 PM
NRA lawyer would do it for sure. If his family gets in a real bind I might be able to talk to some of the (extremely few) pro-2A professors I've known who might "know someone" who would be of more help along their chain of contacts.

I am sorry for the loss of your friend, and for his family. On the very little you've told us, it sounds like he was a pretty responsible and successful person - it's a terrible shame but hopefully you've all got a strong foundation of friends or faith to help make sense of it and get through tough times.

November 14, 2008, 03:39 PM
Well if it were up here in Alaska, our most notorious ambulance chaser would take it in a heartbeat. He can be found at the range often with his own NFA toys.

November 14, 2008, 04:34 PM
who would that be snookums :)

WildseeyoutonightAlaska ™

November 14, 2008, 04:36 PM
How do you get a lawyer who:

a) is willing to deal with the ATF
b) knows, or is willing to learn, the relevant law
c) is willing to take on a "gun case"
d) is willing to touch anything involving
an evil-bad-NFA-gun?
e) has some minimum level of competency?

Call one up, its no big deal. You think attorneys are askeered of the BATFE? Or give a hoot about NFA guns and all the politcal implications in your mind?

WildpaythebillAlaska ™