In California, a special type of probate petition known as a “Probate Code §850 Petition” allows you to transfer property into or out of a trust. Also known as a “Heggstad Petition,” the benefit offered by a §850 Petition lies in the fact that the property in question can ultimately be distributed to the intended beneficiaries without the need to pass through the formal probate process. Because the rules and procedures relating to Probate Code §850 Petitions can be confusing, we encourage you to consult with our experienced probate attorneys at Schomer Law Group if you believe that estate property may qualify for transfer using a §850 Petition.
How Does a Probate Code §850 Petition Work?
Many people choose to use a revocable living trust as their primary estate planning document for the distribution of estate assets upon their death. Among the other benefits to using a trust is the fact that assets held in a trust bypass the probate process, thereby allowing them to be distributed directly to the trust beneficiaries (if the terms of the trust so dictate) after the death of the Settlor (the trust creator). Sometimes, however, property that the Settlor intended to transfer into the trust is overlooked, or otherwise doesn’t make it into the trust prior to the death of the Settlor. California Probate Code §850 was enacted to cure this defect by allowing certain eligible property to be transferred into, or out of, a trust after the decedent’s death.
Who Can File a Probate Code §850 Petition?
The right to file a Probate Code §850 Petition depends on the basis on which the petition is being filed; however, any of the following people may be entitled to file a petition:
- A guardian or conservator
- A claimant
- The personal representative of the estate
- The trustee of the trust
- Any “interested person”
When Can a Probate Code §850 Petition Be Filed?
A Probate Code §850 Petition may be an option under any of the following circumstances:
- Where the decedent while living is bound by a contract in writing to convey real property or to transfer personal property and dies before making the conveyance or transfer and the decedent, if living, could have been compelled to make the conveyance or transfer.
- Where the decedent while living binds himself or herself or his or her personal representative by a contract in writing to convey real property or to transfer personal property upon or after his or her death and the contract is one which can be specifically enforced.
- Where the decedent died in possession of, or holding title to, real or personal property, and the property or some interest therein is claimed to belong to another.
- Where the decedent died having a claim to real or personal property, title to or possession of which is held by another.
Contact the Los Angeles Probate Attorneys at Schomer Law Group Today
A Probate Code §850 Petition can save an estate, as well as the beneficiaries of the estate, both time and money. To find out if estate property qualifies for transfer using a Probate Code §850 Petition, consult with the Los Angeles, California probate attorneys at Schomer Law Group. Our experienced probate team will evaluate your circumstances and advise you on the viability of transferring assets using a §850 Petition as well as assist you with the petition process if the property qualifies. Contact the California office today by calling (310) 337-7696 or (562) 346-3209 or by filling out our online contact form.