A general assignment of assets, as the name implies, transfers ownership of a wide variety of personal assets. This is typically used by estate planners to transfer all types of financial instruments and personal property into a trust without having to individually specify the asset being transferred. In the event that a personal property was unintentionally omitted from being transferred into a trust, a general assignment can be used to obtain a court order to transfer legal title into the trust. An issue regarding general assignment was deliberated on in the case of Kucker v. Kucker (2011) 192 Cal.App.4th 90.
In Kucker v. Kucker, the Trustor created a revocable inter vivos trust (a trust created by a writing or declaration which commences while the Trustor is still alive) and a pour-over will (a testamentary device wherein the writer of a will creates a trust, and decrees in the will that the property in his or her estate at the time of his or her death shall be distributed to the Trustee of the trust) leaving her entire probate estate to the Trust. The Trustor also signed a general assignment of property transferring to the Trust all of her shares of stock in 11 specified corporations and funds. However, the general assignment did not mention stock that she owned in Medco Health Solutions ("Medco") since it did not form part of her brokerage account and the stock certificate had been lost. Megan Kucker (daughter, plaintiff, appellant and respondent) filed a Heggstad petition to confirm that the 3,017 shares of stock in Medco were an asset of the trust.
The probate court conducted a hearing on the petition and determined that Probate Code section 15207 read in conjunction with Civil Code section 1624(a)(7) applied to the case. Based on the civil code, the probate court denied the Heggstad petition claiming that "in those instances where the settler intends to transfer assets in excess of $100,000, a writing specifically describing the property is required.
Stay tuned for more on this topic on our subsequent blog.
*This blog entry was not written by an Attorney and should not be construed as professional legal advice.