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

Robert Ray

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.

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The Author

Robert Ray

Robert Ray handles inheritance disputes of all kinds. He takes cases throughout Texas.
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