California Probate Code 850: The Heggstad Petition
The California Probate Code 850 is commonly referred to as the Heggstad Petition and avoids the lengthy court probate process by asking a court to transfer a property to a beneficiary following a decedent’s death. This petition is typically used when a decedent created a valid trust but failed to property title one or more property in the name of the trust.
Filing an 850 Petition
If your loved one passed away, and you feel that certain property should have been added to a trust, you may consider filing an 850 petition to add those properties to the trust. All too often, people create trusts without truly understanding that these trusts only control those assets and properties transferred into it.
If you believe that some property of the decedent should have been in the trust, you may consider filing an 850 Petition with the court. There are specific circumstances under which you will be able to make this request, and not every request is granted by a court. Additionally, it is important to note that an 850 Petition is always handled and processed through the courts, meaning that you will need to provide documentation regarding your petition if you wish the court to grant your request. Visiting with an experienced probate attorney can help you potentially avoid probate notes and help you determine if a court will likely rule in your favor regarding an 850 Petition.
The basis for such a petition was established in a case called the Estate of Heggstad. However, this case has its limitations and not every property will be granted admission into a trust. For example, one requirement is that the property must be referenced in either the trust document or in a separate written document of the estate. If there is no declaration of this property, it will likely not meet the standards established by the Heggstad case. A petitioner can not simply allege without proof that the decedent intended to put certain property into a trust but never got around to doing it legally.
Additionally, a successful Heggstad petition will need a copy of the decedent’s Living Trust, the Living Trust’s Schedule of Assets, the property deed, and all information and documentation regarding the decedent, heirs, and beneficiaries.
Common Reasons for Filing a Heggstad Petition
There are several reasons a California resident may use the 850 Petition. Some of the most common reasons include:
- The decedent simply forgot to include the property in the trust (and this is provable through evidence)
- The paperwork to include the property in the trust was somehow flawed
- The decedent died prior to the official transfer of property into the trust
- The decedent failed to realize they needed to change the title of the property
Contact an Experienced Estate Attorney
If you would like to visit with an experienced attorney regarding your ability to file a Heggstad petition, contact our legal team at the Law Office of Kris Mukherji at (858) 442-5747. We can help ensure that you have all of your questions answered, and will help you determine if the 850 Petition would be right for you.