How To | Silencers 101
Setting Up a Trust Vs. Individual Filing of eForm 4

Setting Up a Trust Vs. Individual Filing of eForm 4

Setting Up a Trust Vs. Individual Filing of eForm 4

In keeping up with recent trends with the ATF, several of you have asked us about buying a silencer without setting up a trust and simply buying as an individual filing of eForm 4 to be able to get your approval faster. We have been working with the ATF longer than anyone on this topic and have seen evidence that approval speed with a trust is catching up and will soon equal that of individual approvals. However, we are first and foremost a customer service company, so for those that have asked we have listened. We are happy to offer both options to you. 

From the beginning, Silencer Central has been about one important task – Simplifying the process to buying a suppressor. This now includes individual filing along with trust filing. To make it as easy as possible, we give you the option between trust and individual during the checkout phase. Have questions about which is best for you? Let’s look at both options. 

Trust vs. individual – which do you choose? 

 As you may have guessed, we feel strongly in favor of setting up a trust, so much so that we have dedicated staff that guide you through setting one up that meets every standard from the ATF. We feel this is a customer service we simply must provide, which is why we offer it to our customers free of charge. If you want peace of mind and flexibility in deciding who can use your suppressor, and who you can pass it on to, then trust is, by far, the best option.  

  • Pros of Trust – One of the things to consider about trust is inheritance. A trust allows for a Form 5 transfer that is tax exempt to the lawful heir. A trust also allows you to designate co-trustees, which are essentially multiple responsible persons who can possess and transfer the suppressor. Some trusts also offer legal protection and privacy depending on state laws.  
  • Cons of Trust – We have worked hard to take away as many of the cons from trust as possible. Setting up a trust can be complex, but we have worked hard to make setting one up easy and painless. They can be very expensive, too, but as you know, we offer it as a free service with purchase. The review process could be longer because the ATF must read each trust and if they have questions, they must send it to their legal counsel. This can lead to longer delays, but we have been meeting with the ATF to make this process quicker, and we are seeing things going in the right direction.

Individual filing is an option that is getting a lot of attention lately, mostly due to fast approval times. We get it. You spend the money on a silencer, and you don’t want to wait as long for it. Currently, many approvals are going through faster for individual applications. Silencer Central now offers you the option of an individual purchase, so if you have no use for the flexibility a trust provides and want to take advantage of the current approval times, this is now an option for our customers. 

  • Pros of Individual – Because the ATF is super-fast on turnaround time for approvals right now, you will likely get your suppressor much faster with an individual application. If you have succession planning for firearms in your will, depending upon wording, a trust may be redundant. Unless you set it up with us as part of our free service during the purchase process, trusts can be expensive, too. If you didn’t want to spend to create a trust in addition to the costs of the tax stamp and the suppressor purchase price, an individual application may be very appealing.  
  • Cons of Individual – The biggest con to filing as an individual is flexibility. You cannot allow anyone else to use your suppressor when not in your physical presence. There is also the issue of succession planning and knowing what happens with suppressor after you pass away. Even with a will in place, succession of the suppressor will likely wind up in probate court. Should you decide after you purchase and take possession of the suppressor as an individual, that you want to add it to a trust, it gets tricky. Transferring your silencer(s) to a trust in the future will require a new Form 4 and an additional $200 tax stamp per silencer.  

Things to keep in mind 

While you’re on your path to purchasing a silencer from Silencer Central, there are a few things to keep in mind when determining how you proceed through our process. 

  • The trust is a free service and approval times are catching up 
  • Individual approvals are faster for the time being – some being as fast as 24 hours or less 
  • You don’t add names to your trust until after it is processed 
  • Setting up the NFA trust after you purchase as an individual can be done with your own attorney or legal services, and it requires new form filing and additional tax stamps for each suppressor 

Individual application info 

Buying as an individual is straightforward. To get started, you simply select it during checkout. The main advantage comes from the speed of approvals, which, as we said, are currently faster than trust approvals. There are some other areas that make an individual application appealing for the right person.  

If you, and you alone will be the one using the suppressor, and you have no concerns over passing it down after you’re gone, then an individual sale could very well be your best option. While we feel the trust process gives you the most options, we also firmly believe in customer service, and will happily guide you through the individual filing process. 

Silencer Central LogoThe best customer experiences 

Remember, the very core of our business model is to provide you with the most pain-free path to owning a suppressor. We pride ourselves in that fact and our goal is complete customer satisfaction. Whichever direction you would like to proceed with your Silencer Central purchase, be it through a trust or as an individual, we will help guide you through the path to ownership by helping you with all the paperwork, keeping you informed of your approval process, and getting your silencer directly to your door. 

Have more questions?

Our team of sales and customer service representatives are ready to help.