As each year passes, estate planning, administration and settlement become more complex. New investment opportunities develop, new management tools become available and, of course, laws constantly change.
One thing that has not changed is the taboo nature of discussions about firearms as an investment or as an asset to an estate. Reasons are not exactly clear why. It could be the negative press associated with firearms, fear or lack of understanding of firearms law as it relates to disposition, lack of proper tools for proper disposition, or could it just be a lack of understanding of the value that firearms can have. We are more comfortable talking about real estate, IRAs and other investment platforms.
Estate planning professionals play an important role in being good stewards to their clients in protecting their assets. Here is some information on how the state of the firearms industry relates to estates and why we should be good stewards of the community:
Per the National World War II Museum statistics, in 2016 there were more than 620,000 living WWII veterans and approximately 372 die each day. Many of these veterans accumulated wealth through opportunity and hard work. Due to their emotional and direct connection to the war and subsequent wars that followed, they invested time, effort and money in firearms. They acquired firearms over the years either for sport, hunting or collecting that may range from only a few items to a few hundred or more.
Collecting firearms through the 1950s through 1970s became a national pasttime. Shows and events all over the world grew in numbers of participants and visitors. As we headed into the 21st Century, collecting interests have declined. One reason attributed to the decline is that many of the collectors died, as seen referenced above. This resulted in larger numbers of collectible firearms becoming available, which subsequently lowered the values.
Changes in social dynamics also produced a lower interest in collecting. Basically, today’s youth do not have the same interests as those in previous generations. Therefore, fewer firearms are being bequeathed as family heirlooms or as entire collections. Instead, these firearms are brought to the market either through individual sales or through firearms dealers.
This is where we should be good stewards of our community and open the conversations with clients to identify their needs for handling with firearms. Many people do not know how to properly sell firearms to individuals or dealers and, more importantly, do not know the values of the firearms that they have. It is up to us to assist in helping with the valuation and proper disposition of the firearms, just as you would do with any real estate or other asset. By doing so we help to ensure maximum value for clients, confirm rare or historic firearms are preserved and general firearms are sold in a manner to comply with all regulations.
Please contact me with any concerns regarding dealing with firearms or if you have any direct questions:
Dennis Gayness, Certified Firearms Appraiser
Triangle Shooting Academy