Rumor or Real? BATFE is not allowing Class III weapons to passed to family members
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Thread: Rumor or Real? BATFE is not allowing Class III weapons to passed to family members

  1. #1
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    Default Rumor or Real? BATFE is not allowing Class III weapons to passed to family members

    I was at a small gun show yesterday and a dealer claimed that an owner of some Full Automatic weapons died, and the BATFE had refused to allow the guns to be transferred to his sons (his wife is dead). He claimed the only protection against this is to put all full auto weapons into a trust.

    Has anyone heard of such a situation? It has been some years since I looked at the rules on transfer of full auto weapons from a deceased owner to children, but I thought this was allowed with the transfer tax.

  2. #2
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    Are the sons felons?

    E

  3. #3
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    A dealer at a gun show is not always the best source of information !
    Just because someone has a FFL does not mean they know what they are talking about !

    Unless there are mitigating factors like "Are the sons felons?"
    Or lack of a will, the sons live in a non Class 3/ Full auto state or problem with executor then the BATmen should approve a transfer (after the paperwork is filed and approved)

    This and another post today about a Forum member who just died highlight the need for estate planning.
    Sooner or (hopefully) later someone else will have your guns ! Best to make sure they go to the people you want to have them.

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  5. #4
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    Yes - something is afoot at NFA Branch in terms of making it much more difficult to do estate transfers; especially transfers where the registrant died years before. I have not seen a copy, but allegedly there is an internal NFA Branch memo that says that estate transfers will only be approved if an estate has been probated and a court order obtained that gives the estate administrator/executor authority to transfer the NFA item. I also understand that this memo purportedly places a time limit on how long the probate court order is good for . . . and if you are outside of BATFE's arbitrary time limit, then you have to go back to court (i.e. reopen the estate, in many situations) and get a new order.

    Obviously, any such stance by NFA Branch ignores the fact that in many situations no estate is ever probated and that (under most state's laws) there is no legal obligation to probate an estate. It also ignores the fact that all states have laws that designate someone as the personal representative of the deceased and with authority to dispose of the deceased's assets; in most states no judicial involvement is required. Further, in most states, there is no time limit on the effectiveness of a court order authorizing the disposition of a deceased person's assets, nor is there any time limit imposed on making such property disposition.

    IMO this is an area of state law that BATFE has no authority to address and, specifically, the NFA is completely silent on what happens when a registrant dies. I would really like to see a copy of the NFA Branch memo and/or any written materials that they are sending out in connection with the rejection of a "too old" and/or "no probated estate" transfer application.

    On several C&R MG's, I have done transfers where the deceased registrant was a WWII vet that had passed away as long as 30 years earlier; the guns having simply been held by the lawful heirs in the subsequent years (with no estates probated). We accomplished these transfers via Affidavits from the heirs, citing to applicable state statutes that made the Affidavit signatory a lawful heir of the deceased registrant. My last such transfer was in 2015; from what I now hear such a transfer (i.e. "too old" and w/out estate probate) would be rejected at this time by NFA Branch.

  6. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alan Smith View Post
    Yes - something is afoot at NFA Branch in terms of making it much more difficult to do estate transfers; especially transfers where the registrant died years before. I have not seen a copy, but allegedly there is an internal NFA Branch memo that says that estate transfers will only be approved if an estate has been probated and a court order obtained that gives the estate administrator/executor authority to transfer the NFA item. I also understand that this memo purportedly places a time limit on how long the probate court order is good for . . . and if you are outside of BATFE's arbitrary time limit, then you have to go back to court (i.e. reopen the estate, in many situations) and get a new order.

    Obviously, any such stance by NFA Branch ignores the fact that in many situations no estate is ever probated and that (under most state's laws) there is no legal obligation to probate an estate. It also ignores the fact that all states have laws that designate someone as the personal representative of the deceased and with authority to dispose of the deceased's assets; in most states no judicial involvement is required. Further, in most states, there is no time limit on the effectiveness of a court order authorizing the disposition of a deceased person's assets, nor is there any time limit imposed on making such property disposition.

    IMO this is an area of state law that BATFE has no authority to address and, specifically, the NFA is completely silent on what happens when a registrant dies. I would really like to see a copy of the NFA Branch memo and/or any written materials that they are sending out in connection with the rejection of a "too old" and/or "no probated estate" transfer application.

    On several C&R MG's, I have done transfers where the deceased registrant was a WWII vet that had passed away as long as 30 years earlier; the guns having simply been held by the lawful heirs in the subsequent years (with no estates probated). We accomplished these transfers via Affidavits from the heirs, citing to applicable state statutes that made the Affidavit signatory a lawful heir of the deceased registrant. My last such transfer was in 2015; from what I now hear such a transfer (i.e. "too old" and w/out estate probate) would be rejected at this time by NFA Branch.
    THANK YOU VERY MUCH FOR POSTING THIS!! We with NFA collectibles really need to consider what becomes of our favorite toys......

  7. #6
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    I'll be taking all of mine with me...

  8. #7
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    I just realized that this thread was started on the NFA buy/sell/trade board; perhaps the Moderators may wish to move it to the NFA discussion forum?

  9. #8
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    This is why it is important to have a will, and describe who and or what you want done with your entire gun collection. Heck, I look at my magazine rack and realize there is $15k worth of magazines setting there (what are a dozen Owen Mags worth ?). I have dealt with several estates in the last few years. sadly- the guys with no will end up costing their relatives a lot of money, and they lose a lot of the collection . alternately, stuff gets sold off for pennies on the dollar when the people who have it have no idea what things are or what they are worth. Lastly, a "what is it and what is it worth" list prevents the estate from overvaluing items as well.

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  10. #9
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    No FA but my dad placed everything in a trust, no will, it's all in a trust with me as trustee.

  11. #10
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    "I have not seen a copy, but allegedly there is an internal NFA Branch memo that says that estate transfers will only be approved if an estate has been probated and a court order obtained that gives the estate administrator/executor authority to transfer the NFA item. "

    So far nothing definite but this statement shows the need to have a will with a list of any NFA or other "registered" firearms. Find a trusted relative or good, life long friend for executor. If the State decides who gets your stuff then your family/heirs are in for a headache !

    Making a legal will takes only a little time and a few $$. Sad to say, some people just do not get it. Some people are just hard headed as*holes !
    Sooner or later we all die.

  12. #11

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    A while back there was a rumor that ATF was looking to require any transferable NFA in an estate must first be transferred to the executor before any other processing. Obviously and idiotic and unworkable scheme at the get go. I am sure rumors originate in the ATF workplace concerning all sorts of possible changes in laws and procedures that are nothing more that that.
    Such a change in estate transfer requirements is absurd and having assisted estates and buyers with many estate transfers over many years with and without probate, I have never heard of any issues that reflect the need for such a change. Recently I finished helping a good friend's son who had POA for his deceased father who had twenty or so NFA. All were transferred out of his father's name over a period of two or more years with a few issues that involved discrepancies between the NFRTR record and the wording of the transfers.
    And state probate courts would probably be annoyed with having to validate NFA transfers for no obvious reason for more hours of petitions by executors and more paperwork.
    ATF has even often been very helpful allowing the processing of transfers when circumstances are not cut and dry. One transfer was allowed when a party with legal power-of-attorney for the deceased could not be found to sign the transfer out from the estate, but a direct beneficiary was located who ATF allowed to sign. There are other anomalies as well that ATF approved in order to facilitate the process of transfer from an estate. Even without probate the transfer protocol is clear and no more complicated than any other transfer. FWIW

  13. #12
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    I have personal knowledge of the "first transfer to Estate executor/administrator, then to beneficiary" issue with NFA Branch, having had such demands made in connection with the transfer of a Japanese Type 99 LMG (paratrooper version) coming from the son of a WWII PTO vet (the vet had passed away 15-20 years before, with no estate probated). This happened about 3 years ago; we pushed back on that one and were able to get that situation favorably resolved. Turns out the problem was a gross misunderstanding by some NFA Branch employees of the transfer denial that should be issued when a third-party purchaser attempts to get an estate gun via tax-free Form 5. Apparently some "enterprising" third-party purchaser(s) had caused problems by attempting to skip the transfer tax because the gun was coming out of an estate; the purchaser was not a lawful heir or legal beneficiary of the estate (he was simply a stranger to whom the Estate had agreed to sell the gun - and should have used a tax paid Form 4).

    No - the current issue raised in the original post (re: "must probate" or "too much time lapsed") is a new development, separate and distinct from the situation that bmg17a1 has observed. What really troubles me on the current situation is that BATFE is taking the position that the registered NFA item has become contraband because it was held by the heirs for "too long" after the registrant's death. In fact, a 1946 import papered/registered MP40 was recently abandoned to BATFE when the transfer was rejected due to the probate court order being "too old"; the WWII vet's elderly son decided it not worth the trouble to re-open the estate and get a new probate court order. The "waited too long" and/or mandating estate probate is a dramatic departure from prior NFA Branch policy where, as bmg17a1 has noted, for decades NFA Branch was extremely helpful in processing transfers coming out of "old" estates and/or estates where no probate or similar judicial proceedings had taken place.

  14. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by MG08/15 View Post
    This is why it is important to have a will, and describe who and or what you want done with your entire gun collection. Heck, I look at my magazine rack and realize there is $15k worth of magazines setting there (what are a dozen Owen Mags worth ?). I have dealt with several estates in the last few years. sadly- the guys with no will end up costing their relatives a lot of money, and they lose a lot of the collection . alternately, stuff gets sold off for pennies on the dollar when the people who have it have no idea what things are or what they are worth. Lastly, a "what is it and what is it worth" list prevents the estate from overvaluing items as well.

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    preach it to everyone you know, and then some,

    I have posted before, but I'll get on the soapbox again,

    sold an estate for a gent, his FIL had passed,

    FIL's kids took all the guns out of the house after he passed, and left all the related 'stuff'

    then they proceeded to sell the related 'stuff' at the same yardsale they sold the household stuff at,
    and at the same prices,

    guy was a trap shooter, reloader, and had about 14 or so guns,

    all the extra mags, reloading gear, everything except a large box of leftovers sold, pennies on the dollar,

    his kids did to care for shooting or wanted to have anything to do with it, just wanted cash,

    I sold his remaining guns for the family on commission (at a low rate) just to help them out, (friend of a friend type thing)

    sad really, he probably had as much stuff in $$$ as he did firearms,,,
    what's so funny about peace love and understanding?

  15. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by bmg17a1 View Post
    A while back there was a rumor that ATF was looking to require any transferable NFA in an estate must first be transferred to the executor before any other processing. Obviously and idiotic and unworkable scheme at the get go. I am sure rumors originate in the ATF workplace concerning all sorts of possible changes in laws and procedures that are nothing more that that.
    Such a change in estate transfer requirements is absurd and having assisted estates and buyers with many estate transfers over many years with and without probate, I have never heard of any issues that reflect the need for such a change. Recently I finished helping a good friend's son who had POA for his deceased father who had twenty or so NFA. All were transferred out of his father's name over a period of two or more years with a few issues that involved discrepancies between the NFRTR record and the wording of the transfers.
    And state probate courts would probably be annoyed with having to validate NFA transfers for no obvious reason for more hours of petitions by executors and more paperwork.
    ATF has even often been very helpful allowing the processing of transfers when circumstances are not cut and dry. One transfer was allowed when a party with legal power-of-attorney for the deceased could not be found to sign the transfer out from the estate, but a direct beneficiary was located who ATF allowed to sign. There are other anomalies as well that ATF approved in order to facilitate the process of transfer from an estate. Even without probate the transfer protocol is clear and no more complicated than any other transfer. FWIW
    I have had good luck , if you want to call it that, with the NFA branch and local guys as well,
    they were very helpful when I became the successor to my Fathers business, and had to dispose of some NFA samples and stuff , infact some took almost 18 months to clear up after the successor license expired, with no issues,
    I did end up cutting up a few post samples, (and sold the parts from them for more than I had in the samples,,,)

    very helpful (local and NFA again) whem my brother and i formed 5'ed a couple of items to ourselves,

    that was in 2011 or so,
    what's so funny about peace love and understanding?

  16. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by MG08/15 View Post
    This is why it is important to have a will, and describe who and or what you want done with your entire gun collection. Heck, I look at my magazine rack and realize there is $15k worth of magazines setting there (what are a dozen Owen Mags worth ?). I have dealt with several estates in the last few years. sadly- the guys with no will end up costing their relatives a lot of money, and they lose a lot of the collection . alternately, stuff gets sold off for pennies on the dollar when the people who have it have no idea what things are or what they are worth. Lastly, a "what is it and what is it worth" list prevents the estate from overvaluing items as well.

    Click image for larger version. 

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ID:	1858338

    i started putting post its on my parts kits (what i paid and a date)...i also try to teach my son values..my magazine shelf looks a bit too much like that one except horizontal.....its all labeled, but unless your family is smart and checks GB prices how would they have any idea of value?.....some mags/drums are $150-$450+ each, so having a $15,000 magazine pile isnt unrealistic....

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