The Texas Gun Trust: Your Ultimate Guide to Firearm Ownership & Inheritance

The Texas Gun Trust: Your Ultimate Guide to Firearm Ownership & Inheritance

What is a Texas Gun Trust?

A Texas Gun Trust, also known as an NFA trust or a firearm trust, is a legal entity that holds and manages firearms. People use them to transfer ownership of their guns to family members. Texas Gun Trust can also be used to legally share the use of a federally regulated category III asset, such as a silencer or suppressor, among multiple individuals. If you have been to a Texas gun show, you have probably seen booths with lawyers (and sometimes non-lawyers) offering to prepare a gun trust for you. I don’t prepare gun trust or any trust for that matter, but some lawyers do. My practice is limited to litigation involving inheritance disputes, not preparing wills or trusts.

Are Texas Gun Trust limited to firearms?

In a 2024 case, a man died intestate (13-18-00007-CV). When no will could be found, his family filed an Application to Determine Heirship. A Texas Gun Trust was found, but not a will. A friend of the decedent, Yarter, filed an intervention, saying he was the beneficiary of the Texas Gun Trust. Yarter was the only beneficiary of the trust. The gun trust had listed all of the decedent’s properties on Schedule A, including his home and bank accounts. Yarter claimed all that property. The family moved to dismiss the intervention on the grounds that Yarter didn’t have standing and that the gun trust was only for firearms. They claimed that the Texas Gun Trust could not transfer other property. The trial court agreed. The friend appealed, and the court of appeals reversed.

The court of appeals ruled on the issue of Yarter’s standing to intervene in the probate case. Since he was a beneficiary of the trust, he had standing to intervene. The court also ruled that a Texas Gun Trust is not limited to holding only firearms. If the trust doesn’t limit the types of assets it can hold, it can hold any type of property, real, personal, or mixed. However, there was a fact question of what property was included in the trust, so they sent the case back to be tried by a jury on the issue of what property was included in the trust.

What this Case Means

A trust can contain property, real and personal. Just because it is called a gun trust doesn’t limit it to only firearms. A gun trust could be created that could limit the assets of the trust to firearms, but when it is silence, a Texas Gun Trust can hold any property that any other trust can hold.

If you attempt to leave real estate and bank accounts in a trust, make sure you have consulted an attorney to help you with the trust to avoid disputes like the one in this case.

Don’t Use Wills Found on the Internet

Don’t Use Wills Found on the Internet

The Issue
In a case out of the Fort Worth Court of Appeals, the issue was what power did the trustee have to distribute or not distribute assets of the trust.
The beneficiaries of the trust sued the trustee to require him to distribute the assets to them. The trustee, a bank, wanted to keep operating the trust and refused to distribute assets. The issue before the court was whether or not the trustee had the right to not distribute assets and keep the trust active which was lucrative to the bank.
The Ruling
The Court of Appeals ruled that the trustee did not have to distribute the asset. In addition, the court ruled that the trustee was entitled to its attorney’s fees.
Reason for Ruling
The court made an exhaustive review of the will and trust documents creating the trust and determined that the trustee had “sole discretion” to make distributions and the beneficiaries could not force the trustee to make distributions.
What you should know
You need to know that words have meaning. Using words from a document that you find somewhere can lead to problems that you did not want. When you want to make a will, you should contact a competent attorney to help you. We do not prepare wills. 02-20-00058-CV.

The court also discussed the use of precatory words in a will or trust.

Texas Spendthrift Trust

Texas Spendthrift Trust

What is a Texas spendthrift trust?

A Texas spendthrift trust is authorized by the Texas Property Code. It is set up by the “grantor.” The trust will name one or more “beneficiaries” of the trust property. The beneficiaries will receive the trust property at a given time, i.e. reaching the age of 35. Sometimes, a trust will exist for a beneficiary’s life with the property going to his children when he dies. A trust is administered by a trustee who may also be one of the beneficiaries. However, if at any time the trustee and the beneficiary are they same person, the trust ends.

Such trust usually make a payment for the “health, support, maintenance and education” of the beneficiary to take care of the beneficiary’s needs during the existence of the trust.

Protection from creditors

A Texas spendthrift trust  is a trust set up to protect the beneficiary from his creditors. For instance, there is a child that does not manage his property correctly, so he is always being sought by his creditors to pay his bills. His parents want to leave him property but are afraid that his creditors will get the property because of the mismanagement of the child.

A Texas spendthrift trust is the answer. In its most basic form, a Texas spendthrift trust provides for the child but is not available to the child’s creditors. A creditor can sue the child but cannot get to the assets of the trust.

A person cannot set up a Texas spendthrift for themselves. However, some states do allow a person to create a spendthrift trust for themselves.

Learn how to Make a Trustee Reveal the Trust Assets and his Actions.

Can you have a secret common-law marriage in Texas

Can you have a secret common-law marriage in Texas

Texas Law

Texas recognizes common-law marriages or what Texas refers to as” informal” marriages. An informal marriage may be proved in one of two ways. The first way is to introduce a declaration of informal marriage that has been filed with the County clerk. If there is no declaration of marriage, a common-law marriage may be proved by showing: (1) agreement to be married; (2) after the agreement, living together in Texas as husband and wife; and (3) representing to others in Texas that they were married. FC §2.401. The statutory requirement of “represented to others” is synonymous with the judicial requirement of “holding out to the public.” Both of these methods of proving an informal marriage depend upon the marriage being open and obvious to anyone who bothers to look.

Can you have a secret common-law marriage in Texas

What happens in those circumstances when the informal marriage is kept secret from a few are many people? The courts have held that a marriage that was secret from only a few members of the couple’s family was a common-law marriage because the marriage was widely known in the community. 734 S.W.2d 27. On the other hand, courts have denied a common law marriage when the marriage was known to only a few. 333 S.W.2d 361. In other words, the cohabitation must be professed as husband and wife, and public, so that by their conduct towards each other they may be known as husband and wife.

Update: In a 2019 case, a Declaration of Marriage was filed in 2015 saying that the parties had been married since 2010. If they were married in 2010, it would be too late to contest the marriage. If they were married in 2015, the man’s children could contest the marriage. The court ruled that there was no evidence that the parties held themselves out as husband and wife (representing to others that you are married) before 2015, so there was no marriage before 2015. The children contested the marriage of 2015 saying that he was not mentally competent to marry. The jury agreed with the children that he was not mentally competent. 13-17-00431-CV.

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