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“A strong body makes the mind strong. As to the species of exercises, I advise the gun. While this gives moderate exercise to the body, it gives boldness, enterprise and independence to the mind. Games played with the ball and others of that nature, are too violent for the body and stamp no character on the mind. Let your gun therefore be the constant companion of your walk.” — Thomas Jefferson

Recent passage of California’s gun laws known as “gunpocalypse” led me to advocate a new model of planning I call the “Jefferson election” in order to conservatively plan for, and flexibly avoid, California gun control (much as the Clayton election has allowed us to flexibly minimize both estate tax and income tax on capital gains).

There is nothing complicated about the Jefferson election. Taking advantage of the fact that guns in California will probably of necessity be transferred post-mortem not by trust, but under the will, the Jefferson election structure anticipates use of specific outright bequests under the will (expressed in the body of the will and/or in a written memorandum authorized by the will, which adds flexibility), and requires the executor to transfer any remaining firearms to a successor gun trustee. Here is a graphical depiction:

jefferson election

The Jefferson Election

The common refrain these days seems to be “the assault weapons have to die with you” — but it doesn’t have to be that way.

For example, if there are assault weapons in the estate that must be removed from California, these guns may be transferred to an out-of-state trustee who agrees to make the guns available to family for training on vacations. (That’s the way it’s got to be, at least until the law changes.)

Powers of attorney will also be drafted with provisions for assault weapons and gun trusts, in case the guns must exit California due to incapacity.

For more on the recent laws and how they affect gun trust planning, watch this video:

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