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Scenario: A client or loved one executed a revocable living trust during their lifetime, but forgot to put their assets in their trust before their death. Yikes! What happens if an asset gets left out of a trust?
In California, if a person dies leaving assets in their individual name, then depending on the value of those assets, their estate may need to go through a formal probate process. Probate is a legal procedure to distribute assets to a person's beneficiaries. This is a very time consuming, expensive, and public process here in California.
Probate is not automatic, however, if the decedent executed a living trust during their lifetime leaving clear intent that they regarded the forgotten asset as a trust asset.
We get it. Life gets busy and hectic. So, it's not uncommon for someone to forget to retitle bank or brokerage accounts, or even put California real estate back into their trust if they refinanced their mortgage loan over the years.
Fortunately, California allows attorneys to file what's known as a Heggstad Petition (named after the famous case Estate of Heggstad, (1993) 16 Cal. App. 4th 943) to bring the forgotten asset(s) back into a deceased person's trust so that it may be distributed according to the terms of the trust. This process is much more cost-efficient than a formal probate proceeding.
Even though Heggstad Petitions are a useful administration tool, many California Court systems are so backlogged (more so than ever due to COVID-19 and mandatory court closures) that filing a Heggstad petition and getting a Court Order can take months in many California counties.
But not here in San Mateo County!
In fact, if your client or loved one died as a California resident leaving California real estate or other California assets, our office can prepare a Heggstad Petition and file it in San Mateo County on your behalf AND get a Court Order declaring that asset is a trust asset within 3-5 days. This is true EVEN IF the decedent lived in ANY California County such as Alameda County, Santa Clara County, Marin County, Placer County, San Bernardino County, Fresno County, San Diego County...and so on and so forth. This is because San Mateo County Probate Court allows Heggstad Petitions to be heard if ALL interested parties consent to venue in San Mateo County. They don't mind if the decedent lived in another California county!
So, why wait 4, 6, 9, or more months waiting for a Court hearing in your home county. Contact our office today for help collecting assets left out of a trust. We will get it done in a matter of days, not months...guaranteed!
California counties we serve: Alameda, Alpine, Amador, Butte, Calaveras, Colusa, Contra Costa, Del Norte, El Dorado, Fresno, Glenn, Humboldt, Imperial, Inyo, Kern, Kings, Lake, Lassen, Los Angeles, Madera, Marin, Mariposa, Mendocino, Merced, Modoc, Mono, Monterey, Napa, Nevada, Orange, Placer, Plumas, Riverside, Sacramento, San Benito, San Bernardino, San Diego, San Francisco, San Joaquin, San Luis Obispo, San Mateo, Santa Barbara, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Shasta, Sierra, Siskiyou, Solano, Sonoma, Stanislaus, Sutter, Tehama, Trinity, Tulare, Tuolumne, Ventura, Yolo, and Yuba.
Keywords: trust administration, failure to fund a trust, unfunded trust, trust not funded, assets left out of trust, Heggstad, Heggstad Petition, funding trust after death, assets not in trust, failed to fund trust, property not in trust, house not in trust, bank account not in trust