Hopefully by now you know that you've got to get your assets funded into your living trust before you die in order to avoid probate. But what happens if you didn't get a chance to fund your trust fully and some of your assets have been left out? In California, there is a probate process called a Heggstad Petition that might be available if assets are valued over $150,000.
In order to use the Heggstad Petition, it requires that there was intent by the decedent to fund the trust before passing away. The court may require a specific assignment in the Schedule A as proof, but some courts may allow other documents signed by the decedent that lists assets as being owned by the trust. If no documents exist to prove their was intent to fund the trust, then those assets excluded will need to go through the probate process. Although, that can be made easier if there is a pour over will in place.
Anyone interested in using a Heggstad Petition should consult with a professional Estate Administration Attorney to ensure that it is done correctly. A properly executed petition can save a lot of time and money for your estate.
*This blog entry was not written by an Attorney and should not be constituted as professional legal advice.