What is a Heggstad petition?

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The purpose of a Heggstad petition is to have the court issue an order that confirms the trust assets when the recommended procedures were not followed but the trust declaration is nevertheless clear. Nevertheless, to avoid delays and costs, it is recommended and proper practice to transfer and retitle all property, including real property, to a trust after the trust has been formed and all formal requirements, such as deed recordation, have been met.

In Estate of Heggstad (1993) 16 CA4th 943 the appellant argued that real property was not transferred to the trust by a properly executed document or by operation of law, in other words, was not retitled in the name of the trust.

The court determined that a written declaration of trust execute by the owner of real property indicating an intent to include the property in the trust was sufficient to fund the trust. However, unless a court order confirming the transfer is obtained, such a declaration may not be accepted or recognized by title companies or transfer agents.

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