Heggstad Petition


A Heggstad petition is used when real or personal property is excluded from a deceased person’s Trust. This happens when title is not formally transferred to the trustee of the Trust during the trust creator’s lifetime. The creator of a trust may overlook certain property or fail to transfer assets into the trust, for any number of reasons. In our experience, one of the most common reasons is the creator of the trust removed real property from his or her trust to complete a refinance and neglected to return the property to the trust once the refinance was complete.

A trustee or beneficiary would typically have to go through probate in order to inherit or distribute the forgotten property or asset, but California Probate Code § 850 provides an opportunity to avoid a potentially lengthy probate process with a Heggstad petition.

If successful, the petitioner will get a court order declaring that the property is, in fact, a trust asset, even though title to the property was not legally or formally transferred into the trust. This approach is possible when evidence exists of the trust creator’s intent to include the property in the trust.

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It is always a good strategy to work with a probate attorney when dealing with the management and distribution of assets in a Trust. You must file a verified petition that states the relevant facts of the case and includes all names and addresses for everyone who must be notified of the petition. Once filed, a hearing will be set on the petition. The court must give 30 days’ notice to all parties involved. At this hearing, you have the opportunity to present documentation that supports the petition. You can generally expect the Heggstad Petition process to be complete within 60 days, from the preparation and filing of the petition to the final decision by the judge.
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In some instances, we may even be able to accelerate the process with an uncontested “ex parte” application. In order to accomplish this, the following must be true:

  • There are no interested parties that would object to the action being taken;
  • All interested parties agree to waive notice of a hearing;
  • All interested parties consent to the petition; and
  • All interested parties consent to venue.
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For uncontested/ex parte petitions, we charge a flat fee of $5,500.00. For regular/non-ex parte petitions, our fees are $6,250.00. Excluded from the flat fee is the following scenarios: if one or more current or remainder beneficiaries of the irrevocable trust are minors (e.g., under the age of 18 years), incapacitated adults, or missing beneficiaries of any age who cannot be located. Time spent locating missing beneficiaries are billed at our hourly rate in effect at the time.
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The total flat fee(s) covers:

check_circle_outline Necessary face-to-face meetings and/or teleconferences;
check_circle_outline Gathering of necessary information to draft the petition;
check_circle_outline Drafting of petition, waivers of notice of hearing and consents of all interested parties;
check_circle_outline Coordination of the distribution of the petition draft and waivers of consents to all interested parties;
check_circle_outline Direct delivery of the completed petition to a local Probate Court for filing and signature by the Probate Judge;
check_circle_outline Obtaining one (1) certified copy of the Court order;
check_circle_outline Scanning and emailing copy of certified Probate Court order, with delivery of original by mail to the Petitioner.

Flat fees include the payment of one certified copy of the Court order granting the petition.

Note: Filing fees and additional certified copies of any Court order are not included.

Questions about Heggstad Petitions? Contact The Peebles Lawyer Today

If your loved one was unable to transfer assets into a trust as intended, contact us today. At The Law Office of Lauren N. Peebles, we can assist in carrying out your loved one’s wishes. We also allow clients to pay attorney’s fees in installments or even defer payments altogether, depending on your circumstances.

Whether you have questions about filing a Heggstad petition or any other estate law concerns, call (510) 263-8555. You can also contact us online to schedule a consultation today.