The National Firearms Act (NFA) regulates and restricts personal ownership of certain weapons. NFA firearms that are allowable in Florida include machine guns, short-barreled rifles, short-barreled shotguns, grenades, large caliber weapons, and silencers. Such weapons, when registered directly to a Florida resident, may only be used and possessed by that individual resident. As such, if a Florida resident, who owns an NFA weapon, becomes incapacitated at any point, their NFA weapons are subject to confiscation by the government. When a Florida resident who owns NFA weapons passes-away, the weapons will transfer to the beneficiaries under the terms of the deceased owner’s last will and testament by way of a court-supervised probate process. Probate can be costly and time-consuming; and, the executor of the probate estate must apply with the bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) before any NFA weapon transfer can be made to a beneficiary or other transferee.
Transfer planning for NFA weapons should be given careful consideration, as the NFA makes it illegal for a person to knowingly, or having reasonable cause to believe, sell or dispose of a firearm or ammunition to any person who is:
- under indictment for or has been convicted of certain crimes;
- a fugitive from justice;
- an unlawful user or addict of a controlled substance;
- mentally defective or committed to any mental institution;
- an illegal alien;
- one who has been dishonorably discharged from the Armed Forces;
- one who has renounced his or her U.S. citizenship;
- convicted of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence;
- one who is subject to certain court-issued injunctions.
NFA weapons are clearly not items that can be freely given or sold to just any person.
So, what is a gun trust and who would want one? The person who establishes their gun trust is known as the grantor. The gun trust is the title owner of the NFA weapons and the grantor names a trustee or trustees to manage the trust and the trust owned property. The grantor will typically name him or herself as an initial trustee of the gun trust. When an NFA weapon is titled to a Florida gun trust it can be held and used by more than one person, e.g., a husband, wife, adult children, friends, etc.… The grantors named trustees will all be able to possess and use any weapon owned by the trust. A trustee must be at least eighteen (18) years old and otherwise legally allowed to possess and use a firearm. The grantor may also name beneficiaries who would receive the weapons in the event of the grantor’s death, incapacitation, or other legal disqualification from possessing a firearm. A beneficiary can be a minor. The grantor is free to change any of the trustees and/or beneficiaries throughout his or her lifetime. When the grantor is deceased or if he or she is rendered incapacitated, the NFA weapons that are titled to a Florida gun trust can avoid probate or confiscation and pass to a successor or beneficiaries pursuant to the terms of the trust. Additionally, a Florida gun trust can provide a higher level of privacy as the NFA weapons are titled to the trust and not to individuals. A probate proceeding is not a private affair and is in fact a matter of public record. A trust is a private document that is not required to be made public in Florida and it is often utilized to avoid a court-supervised probate proceeding.
A Florida gun trust can be a very helpful planning tool for those enthusiasts and/or collectors who are interested in arranging for legal use by multiple people and a simple transfer once they have passed, become incapacitated, or are otherwise disqualified from possessing a firearm. Florida gun trusts have several requirements to be legally effective and the NFA has rather strict fines and criminal penalties. The trust should be discussed with and prepared by an attorney with advanced knowledge in firearm trust planning. To learn more about firearm trust planning, contact one of the attorneys on our estate planning teams.
Congratulations! You successfully navigated the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan application process and you were awarded a loan from the SBA. You have spent all the funds in accordance with your advisor’s recommendations and your business’ needs. Now you would like to apply for forgiveness of that loan to turn it into a grant. What do you need to know and what actions do you need to take? Have no fear, the SBA recently issued additional guidance in the form of FAQs to assist you.
Will you need to submit documents with original signatures in ink? It is acceptable to submit digital or scanned copies of any applications or supporting documentation for your loan forgiveness request. Any signatures or consents that you need to provide may also be completed electronically. You should check with your lender/servicer, to make sure their internal rules also allow for this.
If you submit your forgiveness application during the 10-month period after the covered period of your loan ends, then you will not be required to make any loan payments until the forgiveness amount is determined by your lender.
You may elect an Alternative Payroll Covered Period if that aligns better with your payroll practices than the standard Covered Period. Payroll costs incurred during the period are eligible for forgiveness if they are paid by the following payroll date after your period ends.
If you took an Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) advance, then that amount will reduce any amount of loan forgiveness that you qualify for. If the amount of your EIDL advance exceeds your PPP loan amount, then you will not qualify for any forgiveness.
One important point to remember is that forgiveness is not all or nothing. You may obtain partial forgiveness for the portion of your loan that was expended on allowable expenses and otherwise qualifies under the workforce retention guidelines. If you only qualify for partial forgiveness, then your lender is required to: (1) notify you of the amount of your PPP loan that will not be forgiven, (2) notify you of the date that you are required to start making loan payments, and (3) continue to service your loan over its term.
When should you apply for forgiveness? Many businesses are waiting to file the application for forgiveness since SBA may continue to issue new regulations. Additionally, it appears that another coronavirus relief package is in the works in Congress. It is certainly possible that a new relief package could change the parameters around receiving forgiveness. You may wish to wait a little longer so that there is more certainty before you apply. You should discuss the timing of your forgiveness request with your advisors.
What if you don’t agree with a decision that SBA has made related to your PPP loan or forgiveness of it? There is a process to appeal any decision made by the SBA that negatively impacts you. For instance, SBA is reviewing PPP loans to determine whether the borrower was eligible for all or a portion of the loan they received, if the funds were spent appropriately, to what extent you qualify for forgiveness, etc. If you decide that you need to appeal, then you must include quite a bit of information with your appeal request (copy of the decision you are appealing, a statement of your position, the relief you are requesting, copies of tax filings for your payroll, and additional tax records). You may want to seek help from a trusted advisor to increase your chance of a successful appeal. For more information on PPP loan forgiveness guidelines, see our blog on that topic here.
To speak with an attorney from our corporate law or banking and finance departments, fill out our website contact form or call our Orlando office at 407-581-9800.
The beginning of 2020 brought substantial changes to the Florida Business Corporation Act (“FBCA”). The revised FBCA was signed into law on June 7, 2019 by Governor DeSantis and became effective on January 1, 2020.
The FBCA has not had a substantial revision since it was first revised in 1989. A comprehensive overhaul of the FCBA was warranted to bring Florida’s corporate statute up to date with modern corporate statutory trends and developments. The amendments to the FBCA are modeled after the 2016 version of the Model Business Corporation Act, albeit with several certain deviations. The revised FBCA represents an extensive change to Florida law in 2020; some of these changes include:
- Various definition and language changes;
- Provides for the expansion of a minority shareholder’s appraisal rights;
- Provides for the reservation of a corporate name for 120 days;
- Provides for increased judicial discretion in dissolution matters;
- Addresses items that may be added to articles of incorporation and, at least in one case, one topic that cannot be included in the articles;
- Allows domestic entities, such as a domestic limited liability company, and foreign entities authorized to do business in Florida to act as registered agents; and
- Authorizes a court to remove a director in a derivative proceeding under certain circumstances.
Owners, shareholders, officers, and directors of Florida corporations should be cognizant of the FBCA revisions and how said changes could potentially impact their rights, duties, and obligations. If you are interested in learning more about the amendments to the FBCA please feel free to contact us.