I live in California (yes, yes, I know) and therefore am not allowed to own silencers here. However, I can own and use them in silencer-friendly states via an NFA trust. TFB previously covered the pros and cons of creating an NFA trust here. In short, yes, it seems to be worth it.
The question: is there an affordable, fast way to create an NFA trust when you are starting from scratch like me?
I took SilencerCo’s new “EasyTrust” NFA trust product for a spin, and I’ll share my experience with you here. The magical path to NFA-land is as follows:
A) Go to www.silencerco.com/nfa-trust and plunk down your credit card to buy the $129.99 EasyTrust product.
B) After checkout and waiting a few minutes, you’ll receive an email which contains a unique URL. That link takes you to a SilencerCo webform where you’ll go through seven quick steps:
1. Read the information, warnings/disclaimers, and instructions on how to fill out the form.
2. Enter your Settlor’s name (Settlor is the name of the person who is giving their property to the trust. This person should live in a silencer-legal state. My good friend who lives in Utah is the Settlor for our trust).
3. Enter your trustee name(s). I put my name as a trustee, and there is space for seven more names. More can be added via an addendum you’d have to create separately. The Settlor automatically becomes a trustee and you don’t have to add his/her name in this field.
4. List your beneficiaries. These are the people who will inherit the trust property should all the trustees die.
5. Choose your trust name. SilencerCo provides clear, simple guidance.
6. Enter the county, parish, or borough the Settlor lives in.
7. Review your information.
C) After submitting your info, the website tells you you’re done and to wait 15-20 minutes for a final email containing the following PDF files: next steps and FAQ, the trust, and a trust amendment form.
That’s it as far as SilencerCo’s involvement with the trust. If you go through these steps without hesitating, you could finish in about 5 minutes, assuming their servers process your info in a timely manner. However, I wanted to be careful so it took me about 15-20 minutes to fill everything out. Overall, it was drop-dead easy, and I really liked the slick SilencerCo web UI and easy to use form fields.
The final step to complete your trust is to have all parties sign the document — certain states require notaries, witnesses, and/or registering the trust at a courthouse. Once these steps are completed, you can bring your trust to your FFL and purchase your goods!
SilencerCo has a few suggestions for the safekeeping of the trust, and I like how their FAQ is fairly absent of legal jargon.
I have some suggestions for SilencerCo to make this product even better:
1) Make it very clear that the Settlor must live in a NFA-friendly state.
2) On Step #7 above, to “review your information” you must use the back buttons. It would be super convenient if all the info I just entered on the previous pages was displayed on the Step #7 page.
3) At some point after completing the trust, I’d really like SilencerCo to direct users to the education section of their site where you can “Find a Dealer” and also read about what the deal is about the “One Dollar” in the Schedule A.
4) I’d also like SilencerCo to direct users to their awesome page “How to Purchase” [a silencer] since this is where you learn how to fill out a Form 4 when using a trust. I stumbled onto this info, but it would have been nice if the email I mentioned in Part C above included a “Getting Started” PDF with links to all the next steps beyond setting up your trust.
I’m aware that there are cheaper online products out there which help folks create NFA trusts. I have not used them, but I did a bit of research and found it challenging to figure out which ones were legit, and which ones were ripoffs.
The value SilencerCo brings in their EasyTrust product is that they are a trusted name who has a reputation for putting out quality products. I did not have to spend any money on lawyers to create the trust. I found EasyTrust very easy to use and I am optimistic their product will help increase the number of NFA trust holders, and by extension increase the number of silencer users and owners across the country.
Disclaimer: I’m not a lawyer and never want to be one. All information in this article should not be construed as legal advice. Consult a lawyer for legal advice.