Skip to comments.Guns and Stuff(estates)
Posted on 06/01/2012 4:56:14 AM PDT by marktwain
When people die they leave behind an estate. An estate is what you owned at the time of your death. It can be real property, land and the buildings that sit on land, or it can be personal property. Thats stuff. After youve paid off all the bills and expenses, whats left is residue. Thats what gets divided up amongst the heirs. If theres going to be a dispute it usually comes from distributing that stuff.
Its been my experience that if heirs are going to argue its over the small stuff. In particular, women argue over jewelry and antiques and men argue about guns and tools. Frequently people either dont say who they want to get certain items or they give the same thing to more than one person. Old folks tend to give things to whoever is in the room at the time and then forget who they gave it too.
Here are a couple of tips to minimize arguments after youre gone. First, big items can be put into your will. By big I mean items of real value that will still be around when you die. Dont put cars, appliances, or things like that in a will unless youre planning on dying tomorrow. By the time you die that new Buick will have been melted down and turned into a dishwasher. Stick to the big stuff.
Make a list of items and who is supposed to get them and attach it to your will. This gives your Personal Representative [what we used to call an Executor or Administrator] guidance on who gets what.
Finally, a tip on guns. Guns are rarely worth what people think theyre worth. To men, however, theres some emotional connection that makes them fight like crazy over some old gun you could buy at Jays for a hundred bucks. To avoid these arguments do this: With your will or on some other paper write down who is to get each gun. List it by make and serial number. Then take a small piece of paper and write that persons name on it in your own handwriting. Unscrew the two little screws that hold the butt plate on the gun and put the paper underneath. Put the screws back in. Put in your will or on the paper you made that the person whos supposed to get a particular gun has their name under the butt plate. That should end the arguments over the guns. I learned that little trick in a lawsuit in Midland that ended when we found out that the names were under the butt plates of about 60 Browning shotguns that the deceased had collected. Unfortunately, he hadnt written down that the names were there. Be sure and let everyone know where the names are.
Most estates are closed with minimal problems. If youve made a few simple preparations like a will and some written directions, it will make things a lot easier on your heirs after youre gone.
If at all possible *move* them B4 the owner passes ...otherwise the ATF gets involved...and we all know what that means.
Were any of them pre-NFA firearms? That is when it can get *sticky*.
Agreed, the article had good advice but your personal experience shows an even better way to deal with gifting of “stuff” of all kinds. The author’s statement on the overvaluing of guns is correct in many cases but he chose a poor example with the Browning shotgun collection. None of those would fall into the category of being available for a hundred bucks at a local outlet.
That’s been my experience and it has worked out very well.
Historically, Mom distributes Dad’s guns before his death and everyone is happy. Which us why you don’t see that many guns being a part of estates. The idea of putting a name under the butt plate is a great one, however, if you don’t have the ability to do this.
And the #1 rule, never, ever, never-ever have more than one (1) personal representative (estate administrator), this creates more problems, power grabs, out of control issues than you can imagine. Everyone thinks this is the more fair way to do things but it is the worst mistake to make. Imagine 4 Generals and no troops that’s what happens.
Walked into a “family” meeting one night to list a house and the four administrators (all siblings - 2 male and 2 female) in 4 corners of the kitchen, NOT TALKING! I have had 2 sisters rolling on the ground fighting (from a very upstanding family) or at least I thought so.
Sorry, I could go on and on and on.............
While working one day I met a man at the house I was working on. He seemed subdued and about to weather a storm. He explained that his wife and her sisters were in the house fighting over who got what of their deceased mother’s possessions. “I won’t let them tear themselves apart,” he said. “I just left their mother’s house. I sold everything in it to a guy who purchases such things. I have the check with me and the stuff is already loaded up and hauled away. Now they can hate me but they won’t hate each other.”
An intelligent and brave man indeed.
Fortunatly, the deceased had clued in the sole survivor and the executor (fortunately a good friend and not a hired gun) beforehand and the "property" was not declared in the estate, nor was it found when the estate was ditributed. Had there been no suvivor or heir it would have been VERY tricky.
As it was, I had no clue what actually happened to it. It might be at the bottom of a flooded mineshaft someplace. Which is a pity.
What is it with firearms and quarry ponds, tippy canoes and mine shafts? ;D
I dunno, but I keep thinking about investing in a good magnet and a length of stout rope. :-)
Boy oh boy, what a bunch of lawsuits available on this one.
The wife is in Probate law. The stories.......good Lord, the stories.
My Sis-In-Law’s elderly cousin, who had a modest collection of guns, died alone in another state - one in the northeast with very tight gun control. He left everything to her and she knew he had some nice guns - a .44 revolver, a 1911, etc. When he died she got a call from a local police dept. detective who informed her of the death, gave her a list of the guns they were going to take into custody and told her what she would have to do to take possession. She had to get permits in her home state for each pistol, etc.
When she got all the paperwork completed and traveled to the other state to clear up the estate and take possession of the guns there was nothing but three of the least expensive guns in police custody. The valuable ones had disappeared - and there was no paperwork to show they had ever been taken into custody.
The detective told her that the original list he read to her was only the state record showing what weapons permits were issued to her deceased cousin. He said he had no knowledge of what was actually found on the premises.
She spoke with the police sergeant who investigated the death and he told her he only found the three guns they had in custody and had no knowledge of any other guns.
The cousin was old when he died, had not traveled out of state for years and had kept all the permits up to date. Of course, it was illegal to sell the guns to anyone else in the state until they had a permit for that specific gun so there would have been a paper trail for any in-state sale as well.
He had never reported any of the guns as lost or stolen.
There were no records to show the missing guns were ever sold or transferred.
He never canceled any of the permits which was required if he sold the guns.
So who has the guns?
Then I will put a sticker with a name, on the back of everything.............
one of these days............
One of these days?
How about this weekend or ASAP?
My father had only discussed starting work on his will and trust when he unexspectly died of a heart attack. The family had a history of longevity, so no big rush.
His 8 brothers and sisters have all outlived him by 20 to 30 years. The 30 + years of fighting, the lawyers, a questionable executor and the court battles that followed his death could have been eliminated to a large degree.
In addition there are fences that will probably never be mended between the heirs.
The best time to get started is today, because there are no guarantees you will wake up in the morning.
The local police have the guns of course. There isn’t much question is there?
LOL! I exaggerated the .......one of these days..... to let you know how hard it is to do but....how much... I know we needed to do it.
QFT and wisdom -- BTDT with only one small blowup between my cousin and me but there were also some lingering resentments over some of the distributions in my uncle's will. The worst thing was it could have all been avoided with a trust (as I advocated and my cousin opposed) while saving about $30k for the estate. OTOH, the distribution of household "stuff" (as well as the house itself) was well-handled because we had agreed very early on that there would be an auction where family members could be bidders to buy what they desired. The money was coming back to them anyway. Few showed up...I was mildly surprised.
I have mine listed as to who gets what and a spreadsheet for my wife giving her cost of the firearm and a fair market price. As posted most are not going to appreciate greatly in value, but certain models and makes will be worth more than I paid for them: Colts, especially revolvers and early automatics and WWII surplus rifles, Garands and Carbines. and those I noted for her. Most of my firearms will go to my children and some nephews.
My mother-in-law is just distributing a lot of her stuff to her children ahead of time. Saves a lot of confusion, and reduces the clutter in her condo.
This is one major reason why I will make sure that I distribute most of my collection of "stuff" to suitable recipients at the point where I am too old to appreciate the stuff.
The banditos with the badges.