How Firearms Create Special Issues in Idaho Probate

When a gun owner dies and has not prepared a gun trust to direct how the firearms should be handled, it is imperative that the person handling the estate (Idaho probate or Oregon probate) understands the many rules that apply to the transfer and possession of firearms.  Breaking these rules, even accidentally, is often a felony.  A well-drafted Idaho gun trust will assist the trustee with the following issues by giving much more direction that a personal representative (executor or executrix) will receive in a probate proceeding.  Keep in mind that expert legal advice is essential. 

If you are involved in a gun owner’s Idaho probate or Oregon probate, here are a few issues you will need to address:

  1. Is there a master list of firearms?  Some Idaho gun owners or Oregon gun owners leave a list on a computer program, such as Gun Count.  You should try to find a list of firearms, to make sure that all of them are gathered, properly stored, and legal.  As the personal representative, you are responsible for locating and properly storing the firearms until they are legally transferred to the heirs or sold.
  2. Where are the firearms?  Are they stored in a place that is secure from theft, minors, and those who cannot legally possess firearms?  Again, as a personal representative for an estate in Idaho or Oregon, you are in charge and responsible for keeping the firearms secured.
  3. What kinds of firearms are there?  Keep in mind that a simple-looking metal part called a receiver is a firearm under the law, subject to rules about possession and transfer.  Small metal parts may constitute a “machine gun.”  If any of the firearms are subject to a federal law known as the National Firearms Act, strict rules about who can possess and how these firearms are transferred must be obeyed to avoid committing a felony.  If you don’t know what these items look like, get help!
  4. Always use an FFL for all transfers to the heirs or beneficiaries of an estate.  Using an FFL will ensure that you are doing things correctly and that the person receiving the firearm can legally have it.  The cost of allowing an FFL to conduct the transfer and run a background check is well-worth it.
  5. Check the laws of the state you are in as well as the laws of the state where the firearms are going.  Each state has different laws about what types of firearms are legal, whether a firearm must be registered, whether a background check must be conducted, and at what age a person may receive a firearm.  These rules must be strictly followed to avoid breaking the law.
  6. Make sure you follow all laws on how to legally transfer a firearm.   Transfers across state lines are particularly tricky, and the proper procedure will depend on the laws of at least two states:  1) the state laws where the firearms are located and 2) the state laws that exist in the state where the firearms are going. Use an FFL to ship any handgun to another FFL, and always ship a long gun to an FFL.
  7. Use a professional to value the firearms.  Don’t guess.  If you are selling the firearms, you are responsible for getting fair market value or above.
  8. Seek legal advice from a competent estate and firearms law attorney.  Not all estate attorneys are firearms law attorneys, and vice versa.   The Idaho firearms and estate attorneys and Oregon firearms and estate attorneys at Alex Kincaid Law provide you with experts in both areas of the law, to ensure an efficient, smooth, and competent transition of firearms in Idaho probates and in Oregon probates.

We would love to meet with you and answer your questions.   Call us at 208-345-6308 to schedule your free consultation, where you can ask all your questions to an Idaho probate attorney or Oregon probate attorney about Idaho probate, Oregon probate, Idaho gun trusts, Oregon gun trusts, and Idaho gun laws and Oregon gun laws and make an informed decision before you start a project.  We serve clients in Boise, Eagle, Meridian, Nampa, Caldwell, Star, Emmett, the Treasure Valley, the Magic Valley, Twin Falls, Mountain Home in Idaho, including Ada County, Canyon County, Gem County, Twin Falls County and elsewhere in Idaho.  We also service clients in Portland, Lake Oswego, Gold Beach, Brookings, Port Orford, Medford, Oregon, and all over the Pacific Northwest!