If you find yourself in a situation where you lose a copy of your trust documents, you'll need help from trusted and experienced estate planning lawyers in Orange County in order to file for a California Probate Code 850 Petition.

Your parent’s original trust documents are essential in getting access to their assets, but like all documents, they're very easy to lose, making it hard to prove that you are entitled to an inheritance, including property and other assets.

Lack of proof can lead to inheritance disputes and other issues, but experienced Orange County CA probate attorneys can help you find a solution. Section 15800 of the Trust Law details how beneficiaries can petition the court to get internal access to the trust assets.

In this article, we'll discuss how to prove that a trust exists, what probate court entails, and the steps for retrieving trust documents.

What to Do When You Lose a Copy of Your Trust Documents?

The conveyance or transfer of property alleged to belong to a decedent or another person is governed by a California Probate Code 850 Petition, often known as a Heggstad Petition.

One of the most common circumstances in a Heggstad case is the loss or misplacement of a copy of the trust.

Although clearly intended to be a trust asset, prior to Heggstad, the executor of your parent’s estate would have to go through lengthy, court-supervised probate proceedings just to prove assets were distributed to the trust. From there it would then be administered by the trustee and ultimately distributed to you, which can be a cumbersome, duplicative, time-consuming, and expensive process.

Now, you can expedite those procedures, saving the estate both time and money with help from Orange County, CA probate attorneys.

California Probate Code 850 Petition or Heggstad Petition

The Heggstad Petition is a legal action that should be handled by an experienced trust attorney, but not every circumstance might be suitable. A court will only allow an 850 Petition under certain factual circumstances.

First, you should have your lawyer look through the situation and determine whether you are likely to prevail or if you are wasting your time and money.

Second, because a Heggstad Petition is handled by the probate courts, it is possible that it will generate probate notes, requiring you to supplement your petition before the court will grant it. Probate notes can be responded to, if not completely avoided, by an experienced probate attorney.

Third, despite their administrative nature, Heggstad Petitions tend to catch you off-guard if you're thinking about challenging the trust. So if you're interested in pursuing the petition, you'd be wise to grasp and examine these factors in order to avoid potential future complications.

Fourth, while some jurisdictions support Heggstad Petitions, others simply do not. Experienced estate planning attorneys in Orange County can assist you in determining whether your local court will grant your petition.

What to Know About Probate Court

The probate court handles wills, estates, and related legal matters. If trust documents are lost and the trust creator isn't alive, the estate will likely go to probate instead. This legal process will ensure that the deceased has debt resolution and all end-of-life matters settled.

Trust documents allow you to avoid the costly probate process and certain taxes, but without them, they will be subject to standard probate law. An 850 Heggstad Petition can save you time and money by asking the court to name properties that should have been included in a trust.

In order to retrieve trust documents, you'll need to get in touch with a probate court with the help of an experienced attorney. They'll provide probate services like processing paperwork and more.

At Parker Law Offices, our attorneys can help you avoid the expense and inconvenience of going through a probate court.

Properly Storing Trust Documents

One of the best ways to avoid losing a trust and being subject to the probate process is by storing your parent’s trust papers carefully. Careful planning and methodical organization prevent losses and ensure that your documents will be carefully preserved for whoever needs them.

Duplicate Copies

Keeping duplicate copies of trust documents ensures that you aren't relying on just one copy.

If you are a direct beneficiary of a trust, you may have multiple copies of a trust. You can share these with a trusted person or keep duplicate copies together with your other legal documents.

Keeping track of trust documents is key to effective trust administration!

Invest in a Fire and Waterproof Safe

Finding the right storage spot is key to keeping your parent’s trust safe. Establishing one reliable location is the best way to make sure you or your loved ones can find your trust when the time comes.

Even the safest home is vulnerable to natural disasters like fires and floods, but keeping them in a fire and water-proof safe ensures that your documents will be safe no matter what.

Make Soft Copies

Aside from official hard copies of a trust, you can also create your own copies to ensure that you have multiples. Keeping a soft copy on your laptops, computers, and mobile devices can save you hours of stress and meetings with attorneys.

Benefits of Working With Professional Estate Lawyers

Working with professional estate lawyers provides the guidance and expertise you need. They can help you file for a Heggstad Petition or otherwise represent your interests during estate litigation.

They can handle probate matters of all kinds and help you get a favorable outcome in a timely manner.

Frequently Asked Questions About Losing a Trust

Losing a trust can be frustrating and may even disrupt your financial plans. But remember, you can still find ways to work around it. Here are some common questions people have about lost trust documents.

Can You Replace a Lost Trust Document?

If you lose your parent’s trust document and don't have a lawyer or other source for a copy, you may have to look for ways to replace it, and if the lost trust document isn't yours, you'll likely need to go to probate court to petition to receive assets that were included in the trust.

What are Your Options for Replacing a Trust Document?

The California Probate Code 850 Heggstad Petition is commonly used to argue that certain properties should have been named in a trust.  This can save significant time and legal fees!

Losing your parent’s trust documents puts you in a complex legal situation. As soon as it becomes clear that the documents are missing, you should contact a law firm with experience in estates and related practice areas.

To avoid probate court and other inconveniences in Southern California, you can reach out to a reliable law office with legal professionals who can provide solutions for accessing those documents.

We pride ourselves on establishing a strong attorney-client relationship with each of our clients. To get a free consultation from an experienced lawyer in Orange County, CA, contact us at 949-867-4818 at Parker Law Offices today!

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