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Form 4 Transfer

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I've enjoyed being on this site for few years, but am at a point where I am open to any advice that might be shared. My father has reached the point of incompetence and I am seeking advice as to the best way to transfer ownership to me of his Form 4 M1A1.  I'm not asking for legal advice, just guidance on whether I try to notify BATF now or wait until his passing? It's a difficult time, but one we will all face at some time.  As a side note, I have a C&R. 

David; I greatly appreciate your work with this site.  It has been a great resource for me.


John Mc


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Have him leave it to you  in his will.  It would transfer to you tax free after he passes. Or if you want it now just have him transfer it to you on a F4 and it will cost only $200. Either way you are in a good position. It will be yours to keep forever or do what you please with it. I have had Mg's left to me in Wills and it is an easy transfer. If you are the Executor of his Will that makes it even easier. The C&R would not play into to it unless you live out of his state. It would allow you to transfer it directly to you without  having to go thru a FFL/SOT dealer.  I would not call the BATF&E if cognitive issues are involved. Just my .02 cents.

Edited by Chopper28
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Thank you for your post. And welcome to the discussion part of the Thompson forum.

I agree with Chopper28 about not contacting ATF about your father's cognitive issues. That could easily spin out of control.

If your father is well enough and willing to sign a Form 4 transfer, then $200 is a small price to pay to resolve this issue right now. However, if there are no estate issues such as other heirs that may object to you receiving this Thompson and you are the Executor of his lawful Will that bequeaths this machine gun to you, then waiting is certainly an option too. Proceed slowly. I am sure you will make the right decision. 

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Normally, I would say wait and do it form 5 tax free, but currently there is a lot of hassle in doing estate transfers, so much so, that it may be worth the $200 to avoid that  IMO.  There's also cognitive issues at NFA branch with form 5's?  Many examiners don't understand them and I've had one "disapproved" recently.  The work from home culture is not going well in Washington.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I have a similar transfer situation in play for nearly a year.  A close friend developed dementia and lost the ability to talk, write and eventually communicate.  His wife had no idea of his NFA items and did not want to deal with them.  I ended up purchasing them and started an in-state Form 4 transfer.

I then found out she did not have power of attorney and we ended up getting a temporary guardianship letter to submit, with F4s.  After eight months, the ATF rejected the forms because the guardianship letter had expired.  By that time my friend had passed away, so I was instructed to submit a copy of the will and his death certificate, as well as, amend the F4 paperwork showing his death info and his wife as the transferee.  I submitted those with a letter stating she was the sole beneficiary.  After a two month wait and several phone calls, it was again rejected stating the will had other beneficiaries who needed to ok the sale and transfer.  All had previously passed over 20 years ago.  They also asked for a proof of executorship, Testamentary letter, or Small Estate Affidavit.

We submitted a letter from his wife stating she was the sole living beneficiary, copies of the death certificates for the other beneficiaries, and a small estate affidavit for the two items all notarized and submitted, along with the corrected forms showing her as the transferee and his death info.

It has been another two months for that fiasco and still no word.  I have called the ATF office more than 15 times, getting a different person each time.  They listen to my explanation and transfer me to my designated examiner.  I have left her seven very cordial messages just asking for help in submitting the correct documents and information.  She has NEVER once called back or sent any email, only rejection letters.  I have requested her supervisor and actually spoke to him once.  He promised to talk to her and either call or email me back….NOT!!  I have left him four additional messages pleading for help…no response!

My friend’s wife originally had offered to “sign” the from 4 applications in his name, saying “I can sign his name better than he can”! 

“No, I don’t want to take any chances and do things correctly….RIGHT!”


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KD-F very accurately describes the current process for all estate transfers.  Avoid that at all cost, do the forms now while you can.  DO NOT wait until a "will"  or trust comes into play, or your family may end up abandoning the guns and proceeds.  If it's not going well I encourage a "living" estate sale. 

There is a situation on another board where a guy had a trust, and because he didn't want the trustee's to have to go through the transfer process (prints, photo, etc.) so he didn't list any trustees.  That stuff will be forfeited since there is no one to authorize a transfer for the trust.

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