Friend died while waiting for suppressors, need help

zetroc

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Nov 6, 2019
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Trying to help out the widow.

Her husband (my friend) died unexpectedly while waiting for 3 suppressors from Silencer Central. He purchased/received their free NFA Gun Trust at the time.

I called Silencer Central and they were very nice by telephone. They canceled the order and will refund some amount of money.

Here lies the problem:

Silencer Central wants to send the refund to the Executor of his estate. My friend died intestate (no will/no estate trust), but that shouldn't matter. He had his NFA Gun Trust at the time of his death (the one created for him by Silencer Central). The successor trustee (his wife) is where the refund goes to, not his Estate Executor.

I have asked Silencer Central to review this with their legal department, and I have not heard anything back. At this point we are trying to save costs and headaches of getting a lawyer involved. The widow is still a little overwhelmed.

Any helpful suggestions would be great.
Thanks
 

zetroc

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Agree, the trust is the payee on the refund. It always comes down to the wording. I am not sure what the refund check should look like (if it is made out to the successor trustee, or if the check is made out to the name of his NFA Gun Trust).

A copy of the death certificate and a copy of the trust was sent to Silencer Central. Still, they are asking for Executor of his estate.

I don't know how to move this along.

Thanks
 

Trigger Monkey

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    Just a quick search of how to become executor of an estate turned up a lot of resources and they all seemed to consistently say you need to contact the county clerk's office and file a petition with the probate court. I'm not a lawyer, don't play one on TV, nor did I stay at Holiday Inn Express but it's a place to start looking. From what it sounded like there's a fee to pay to the court but it didn't sound like you'd need an actual lawyer or anything. Good luck.

     
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    KnowNothing256

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    Interesting. Since the trust is the refund recipient, I’m surprised Silencer Central doesn’t just cut a check to the trust. Any trustee is typically allowed to disburse funds as needed from the trust, if it’s worded anything like my old Silencer Shop SingleShot trust.

    The settlor’s estate shouldn’t have anything to do with it, the trust paid the money and the trust gets the refund. The trust almost certainly also has language about how to handle the settlor’s death, although it likely takes about property already in the trust as opposed to the purgatory in which silencers often live. Still, I’d say the check should be cut to the trust, then a living trustee can take the check and a copy of the trust to their bank and see if they’ll cash it.
     
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    zetroc

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    That is what I have been telling them. The trust moves this property outside of his estate, and the trust has beneficiaries assigned. The responsibility of the successor trustee in this situation would be to get the refund money and distribute it to the beneficiaries.

    Unfortunately, they are unwilling to send her a check. It wouldn't matter if she was executor of his estate, the refund goes to the successor trustee (which is her) regardless.

    Extremely frustrating. It seems like Silencer Central and I are talking past each other.
     

    KnowNothing256

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    Best of luck, I don’t envy any of you your positions
     

    Conrad101st

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    You know the reason people create trusts is not usually to own NFA weapons, but to avoid probate in the first place. In other words people spend boatloads of dollars on attorneys to create trusts so there will not be an estate to probate, so there will be no administrator or executor.

    Apparently the gun shop is so myopic that they forget that a trust generally exists outside the “estate” of the decedent.
     
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    azsugarbear

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    It all comes down to who paid for the suppressors. Typically, we pay for our suppressors with personal money and then wait for the purchase to be approved by BATFE before the item goes into the trust. If the check or credit card had the name of the Trust on it, then that is where the refund goes - because the money was already in the Trust. If the check or credit card had the individual's name on it, then the refund goes back to him, or in this case, his estate. I'm betting the money came from outside the Trust and the suppressors never made it into the trust, so the refund goes to the estate.
     
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    KnowNothing256

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    It all comes down to who paid for the suppressors. Typically, we pay for our suppressors with personal money and then wait for the purchase to be approved by BATFE before the item goes into the trust. If the check or credit card had the name of the Trust on it, then that is where the refund goes - because the money was already in the Trust. If the check or credit card had the individual's name on it, then the refund goes back to him, or in this case, his estate. I'm betting the money came from outside the Trust and the suppressors never made it into the trust, so the refund goes to the estate.
    Mmmno, I don’t think that’s correct. Because you sign a piece of paper (several, actually) telling the federal government that the trust is the owner of the silencer. Basically, when the individual pays for it then files the paperwork, they’re saying they have already placed the silencer in trust, even though they were never allowed to possess it beforehand.
     
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    redneckbmxer24

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    Well they’re truly fucking retarded. The whole point of a trust is to disperse assets so that you don’t need to probate.

    They probably think trusts are just a thing to do so that an NFA item can have “multiple owners” and have no clue what a trust actually is.
     

    zetroc

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    Well they’re truly fucking retarded. The whole point of a trust is to disperse assets so that you don’t need to probate.

    They probably think trusts are just a thing to do so that an NFA item can have “multiple owners” and have no clue what a trust actually is.
    exactly
     
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    zetroc

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    It shouldn't matter where the money came from. The suppressors were paid for and moved into the trust. They were part of the trust at the time of his death. At the moment he dies the trust becomes irrevocable and the successor trustee is now responsible to perform their duties.

    She has no need/wants of the suppressors, and reselling them can be somewhat of a hassle. She is not interested in putting in any more effort on this. She would just like everything to be resolved as simply as possible.

    On a separate note, I received and reviewed a copy of his gun trust at the beginning of this fiasco. You get what you pay for. This was a "free trust" with the purchase of his silencers. My NFA trust was done through an attorney. After reading through his free trust I could NEVER recommend one.
     
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    zetroc

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    You know the reason people create trusts is not usually to own NFA weapons, but to avoid probate in the first place. In other words people spend boatloads of dollars on attorneys to create trusts so there will not be an estate to probate, so there will be no administrator or executor.

    Apparently the gun shop is so myopic that they forget that a trust generally exists outside the “estate” of the decedent.
    bingo
     

    RGStory

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    Trying to help out the widow.

    Her husband (my friend) died unexpectedly while waiting for 3 suppressors from Silencer Central. He purchased/received their free NFA Gun Trust at the time.

    I called Silencer Central and they were very nice by telephone. They canceled the order and will refund some amount of money.

    Here lies the problem:

    Silencer Central wants to send the refund to the Executor of his estate. My friend died intestate (no will/no estate trust), but that shouldn't matter. He had his NFA Gun Trust at the time of his death (the one created for him by Silencer Central). The successor trustee (his wife) is where the refund goes to, not his Estate Executor.

    I have asked Silencer Central to review this with their legal department, and I have not heard anything back. At this point we are trying to save costs and headaches of getting a lawyer involved. The widow is still a little overwhelmed.

    Any helpful suggestions would be great.
    Thanks

    How was payment originally sent to Silencer Central? Credit Card, Check, Money Order, or Cash?

    Did the Trust remit payment, or did the individual remit payment?
     

    phlegm

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    How was payment originally sent to Silencer Central? Credit Card, Check, Money Order, or Cash?

    Did the Trust remit payment, or did the individual remit payment?

    This is the thing. Your friend likely paid for the items personally, instead of money that came from the trust. As such, the trust owned nothing, yet.
     
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    zetroc

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    I am not an attorney but I don't see how the funding makes a big difference.

    The suppressors were purchased and "in jail" as we like to say. They are now owned by the trust regardless of the source of funding.

    I purchase all of my suppressors and put them into my trust with my personal funds. My trust owns nothing except what I purchase and place in there.
     

    zetroc

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    How was payment originally sent to Silencer Central? Credit Card, Check, Money Order, or Cash?

    Did the Trust remit payment, or did the individual remit payment?
    He paid for it by monthly payments from his checking account
     

    RGStory

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    I am not an attorney but I don't see how the funding makes a big difference.

    The suppressors were purchased and "in jail" as we like to say. They are now owned by the trust regardless of the source of funding.

    I purchase all of my suppressors and put them into my trust with my personal funds. My trust owns nothing except what I purchase and place in there.

    And now the purchase is being canceled and the funds returned. It is as if the purchase never happened in the first place.

    The funds should be returned to whence they came. In this case, the decedent or his account. As the payor is deceased, it would be proper to return it to the Estate of the Decedent.

    Most times you could have probably could have just had them write the check in the decedents name and then deposit the check into his account. It is functionally the same thing as conveying it to his estate.

    I imagine their attorney is trying to put in the payee line "Jane Doe, as Executrix of the Estate of John Doe". Which would explain why they want to see documentation on the appointment of an executor of the estate. It infuriates me to no end when attorney's insist on this, when they could just leave it as "Estate of John Doe" and let the bank, holder of the check, or the court worry about who can properly cash or deposit it. Most smaller banks and credit unions where a customer is known will still deposit funds this way, especially on joint accounts.

    The intestate and probate laws of each state are very unique. Individual situations and local laws can change drastically how an estate is handled depending on very specific circumstances. In some states, there is no need for Probate under certain amounts. Other states, it is always recommended. Its a big leap to for their legal department to assume the correct way of doing things in a particular state when probate law/real property law is probably not their area of specialty. However, I'd give them the benefit of the doubt and work from a position of trusting that they are attempting to do the right thing here.
     
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    zetroc

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    And now the purchase is being canceled and the funds returned. It is as if the purchase never happened in the first place.

    The funds should be returned to whence they came. In this case, the decedent or his account. As the payor is deceased, it would be proper to return it to the Estate of the Decedent.

    Most times you could have probably could have just had them write the check in the decedents name and then deposit the check into his account. It is functionally the same thing as conveying it to his estate.

    I imagine their attorney is trying to put in the payee line "Jane Doe, as Executrix of the Estate of John Doe". Which would explain why they want to see documentation on the appointment of an executor of the estate. It infuriates me to no end when attorney's insist on this, when they could just leave it as "Estate of John Doe" and let the bank, holder of the check, or the court worry about who can properly cash or deposit it. Most smaller banks and credit unions where a customer is known will still deposit funds this way, especially on joint accounts.

    The intestate and probate laws of each state are very unique. Individual situations and local laws can change drastically how an estate is handled depending on very specific circumstances. In some states, there is no need for Probate under certain amounts. Other states, it is always recommended. Its a big leap to for their legal department to assume the correct way of doing things in a particular state when probate law/real property law is probably not their area of specialty. However, I'd give them the benefit of the doubt and work from a position of trusting that they are attempting to do the right thing here.
    Thanks.
    I follow your line of reasoning. I asked the company if they could cancel the whole order and refund directly to his account. Refunding directly to his account would have been the equivalent of giving back to his estate. They said they could not do that, and would not refund to his wife (successor trustee). They said they would refund to the Executor of his estate only.

    I will repeat that I am obviously not a lawyer, and to some degree this is a mental exercise for me at this time.

    I suspect his entire order could have been canceled prior to his death. I reason that at the moment of his death the suppressors are property of his trust (now irrevocable), even if they are in suppressor jail, and that cancelation of his order moves the money to the trust?
     

    wyld3man

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    Couldn't the paperwork somehow be cancelled through the ATF and have them refund the tax stamp money? Then wouldn't the shop have to refund the money since the whole process was cancelled?
    Just spit balling here.
     

    smoothy8500

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    Unfortunately at the time of death, anything not in the possession of the trust or in the bank accounts ( refunds, insurance claims, lotto winnings, etc) goes to probate. The suppressor jail means he never took possession, thus may/ or may not be in the trust.
     

    RGStory

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    Couldn't the paperwork somehow be cancelled through the ATF and have them refund the tax stamp money? Then wouldn't the shop have to refund the money since the whole process was cancelled?
    Just spit balling here.
    If you are dealing with federal funds, then I believe this regulation will be relevant.

    31 CFR § 240.15 - Checks issued to deceased payees.

    (2)(b) Handling of checks when an executor or administrator has not been appointed. If an executor or administrator has not been appointed, all checks issued to a deceased payee must be returned to the certifying agency for determination as to whether, under applicable law, payment is due and to whom it may be made.
     

    zetroc

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    If you are dealing with federal funds, then I believe this regulation will be relevant.

    31 CFR § 240.15 - Checks issued to deceased payees.

    (2)(b) Handling of checks when an executor or administrator has not been appointed. If an executor or administrator has not been appointed, all checks issued to a deceased payee must be returned to the certifying agency for determination as to whether, under applicable law, payment is due and to whom it may be made.
    We started with the idea that all the tax stamps are a loss. Nothing from there would be coming back.
     

    fdkay

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    My Dad did not have an executor of his estate, being that I was the only one that lived near him, I was appointed the executor by the court.
    His widow should be, defacto the executor of his estate unless a will or contract stated otherwise.
     

    zetroc

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    Unfortunately at the time of death, anything not in the possession of the trust or in the bank accounts ( refunds, insurance claims, lotto winnings, etc) goes to probate. The suppressor jail means he never took possession, thus may/ or may not be in the trust.
    Thx. I think this is the big question: Does the trust own the suppressors if they are paid for and "in jail". I can't find the answer to this question.
     

    RGStory

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    Thx. I think this is the big question: Does the trust own the suppressors if they are paid for and "in jail". I can't find the answer to this question.
    It is an interesting question. An academic debate could be had on that. However, I don't think it is the most pertinent question based on your initial post.

    Let's say we scour the existing laws, then review the ALR and CJS, then get an attorney with experience to weigh in on the subject and we succeed and find relevant existing law, case law and a legal opinion that all support the notion that they should refund the money directly to the widow.....

    Then what?

    You will still need to convince the counsel and billing department at Silencer Central to remit the funds.

    You could be in all the "right" in the world, but you will still need to force them to remit funds if they don't agree. You could go to court to force the issue, but then you might as well have gone to court to appoint an executor of the estate.


    Your question remains, "What is the easiest method of retrieving the funds from Silencer Central?" This, they have told you already.


    Another question you could ask them, "What if we never get an executor appointed, then under what name will you send the funds to unclaimed property?"

    I still think they should just send the refund check in the name of the deceased or the estate of the deceased and let the widow endorse it as necessary for deposit. The business risk is nominal for them and pissing off the widows of deceased customers is likely to have more business risk associated with it.
     

    zetroc

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    It is an interesting question. An academic debate could be had on that. However, I don't think it is the most pertinent question based on your initial post.

    Let's say we scour the existing laws, then review the ALR and CJS, then get an attorney with experience to weigh in on the subject and we succeed and find relevant existing law, case law and a legal opinion that all support the notion that they should refund the money directly to the widow.....

    Then what?

    You will still need to convince the counsel and billing department at Silencer Central to remit the funds.

    You could be in all the "right" in the world, but you will still need to force them to remit funds if they don't agree. You could go to court to force the issue, but then you might as well have gone to court to appoint an executor of the estate.


    Your question remains, "What is the easiest method of retrieving the funds from Silencer Central?" This, they have told you already.


    Another question you could ask them, "What if we never get an executor appointed, then under what name will you send the funds to unclaimed property?"

    I still think they should just send the refund check in the name of the deceased or the estate of the deceased and let the widow endorse it as necessary for deposit. The business risk is nominal for them and pissing off the widows of deceased customers is likely to have more business risk associated with it.
    Agreed. I recommended to her exactly the same thing. It is up to her now.
     

    Conrad101st

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    31 CFR § 240.15 - Checks issued to deceased payees.

    That’s an interesting idea but I would argue the payee is not deceased. The trust exists outside the life of the trustor. A trust is a stand alone entity and its life is dictated by the terms incorporated therein. If the trust owns the asset and is in existence then the answer is self evident.
     

    smoothy8500

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    If the trust owns the asset and is in existence then the answer is self evident.
    Trust doesn't own the bank account. The trust owns the silencers. Wife owns the bank account, assuming state has right of survivorship for wife and she is the beneficiary or joint owner.

    In the end, this unfortunate scenario shows how we need more than just a will, but seriously also consider a getting a trust. With many states a will still leaves a lot of issues to be decided by the probate process.
     

    Texascbr

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    Was your friend the only trustee on the trust? If not who else is a trustee? Who is listed as beneficiary? Which state is this being discussed?
     

    zetroc

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    Was your friend the only trustee on the trust? If not who else is a trustee? Who is listed as beneficiary? Which state is this being discussed?
    Wife is the successor trustee. Friend was the only one on the trust. Beneficiaries is "all living heirs". Arizona
     

    zetroc

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    Then get an attorney involved.

    Pro bono and pro se are typically not good ideas.
    Yup. I told her the same thing. Pay the money. Get it done. It is the hassle factor, time constraints (working), and emotional issues for her now.
     
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    Basher

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    No idea on the suppressor refund issue, but sorry about your friend’s passing. A close friend of mine died of a heart attack in his sleep this past weekend. Fit guy, loved playing basketball, not overweight or anything crazy. Just turned 50 last month. Sucks to lose those close to you. Hope you got this issue resolved.
     

    zetroc

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    Sorry for your loss.
    No idea on the suppressor refund issue, but sorry about your friend’s passing. A close friend of mine died of a heart attack in his sleep this past weekend. Fit guy, loved playing basketball, not overweight or anything crazy. Just turned 50 last month. Sucks to lose those close to you. Hope you got this issue resolved