A Trust, generally, is a legal relationship whereby property is held by one person for the benefit of another. NFA Firearms Trusts are specifically tailored to deal with the fact that the property can be firearms. The Trust itself is the entity that ‘owns’ the property in trust. While something similar can be achieved with LLCs or Corporations, Trusts are preferred because those business entities have annual tax and other reporting requirements. This is not only expensive, but provides less privacy. Further, since there are more reporting requirements, there is more of a risk of mis-reporting, which could lead to severe criminal penalties.
From an estate planning perspective, having your NFA assets in a trust allows them to avoid probate and pass seamlessly to your beneficiaries tax-free on a Form 5. If any of the beneficiaries are under the age where they may legally possess the NFA items, then the trust will continue to hold the assets until such time as the beneficiary may legally take possession. In addition, the trust contains instructions on how a successor trustee is to handle beneficiary distribution in the case that one of more beneficiaries becomes a disqualified person.