Saturday, October 28, 2006

Where Will Your Guns Go When You Are Gone?

Where will your guns go when you're gone? You know what I mean, when you have shuffled off this mortal coil, kicked the bucket, bought the farm, crossed the river, what will happen to your guns? Do you know? Have you thought about it? Do you have a general plan? A specific plan? Do you care?

In the work I do I've seen a lot of family heirlooms move onto the market because of one of two reasons. The most likely, seemingly most common, is that there was no planning. The owner didn't talk about his treasures with his wife, his children, his friends and that includes talking about why these things were treasured by him. If they don't know that something is important they likely don't value those things enough to either keep them around or ensure they go someplace or to somebody that will value them.

The second most likely reason is that nobody in the family cares. Not about the stuff, oh they care about the stuff, it is the person they don't care about. They don't care about what that person liked, what they did in their life, what they liked in life. They do care about the value of the items, at least to some degree, and they want the value of those things. At least what they perceive as the value of those things. We've all seen the treasures of a family including family bibles and photos go for pennies at yard sales and estate auctions.

I've met many folks who know they are nearing the end of their lives. They are aware of what will happen if they don't plan. Many know that their families don't care about some of the very valuable things they have. Sometimes, often times, that might include a firearms collection/accumulation.

I've got a few heirloom guns. I'd like to see them go to the grandchildren. But for one, my children don't care for my interests at all. The one, only because her husband is interested as I am. It is likely that her children will follow their father's lead. That is where I intend to pass on the bulk of my guns. But, I'm thinking that if I pass, my wife will want to sell some.

Now you and I both know that there are some unscrupulous folks out there that will take advantage of the bereaved. They are not above lying about market value or straight out stealing an item they desire to turn into dollars for themselves. Wives who want to get "that old thing" out of the house will sell guns for 50% (or less) of value. Husbands who "fibbed" about the cost of their guns might be looking down on a widow moving out his collection for what he said he paid when the true value is many times that. I wouldn't want that to happen to my wife.

So, what I did was to create a database (for my use) that details the guns I've got (and had) and the values of those guns I own. It lists the serial numbers so that there is no doubt which is which. Every time I get a new gun, I add it to the DB and print out a valuation report. Included in the valuation report is a comment section for each gun that specifies to whom I want it to go. I put that report in with my important "death" documents.

Now, you may only have one or two guns. You might not have any children or even a wife. Likely you do have parents, siblings, and a friend or two. If you don't you have my condolences, it must be a lonely life for you! One of those folks is likely the person to whom you would most like your collection, however small, to go. Make plans, be prepared. I am.

- Massad Ayoob, "Passengers, Prepare for Departure"

1 comment:

Brigid said...

I had a will made a year ago. Figured it was about time, though hope I won't use it for 50 years or so. My best friend gets my guns. The bolt actions especially will be well taken care of and loved.