Legal Question in Wills and Trusts in California

Mom passed. I am successor trustee. Everything is in trust. Stock in one company is mentioned in trust to be split evenly between 4 heirs. Stock shows mom’s name and no beneficiary. Stock not officially in trust but description of stock is clearly stated in trust. Can I as successor trustee just transfer 25% to each of 4 heirs and avoid probate on that ?


Asked on 10/16/19, 11:32 am

2 Answers from Attorneys

John Palley Meissner, Joseph, Palley & Ruggles, Inc.

I am sorry for your loss. Unfortunately if the stock is in mom's name you do not have authority to transfer the stock. You need to get it into the trust or possibly use small estate affidavits (if total of non-trust assets is under $150k) directly to the 4 beneficiaries. If the total is over $150k then you will need a probate court order. Very likely a Heggstad petition would work which is an expedited probate. I own the domain name heggstadpetition.com and you can learn more on that procedure or contact me off-line. Again, that would be if the total exceeds $150k. Good luck. -John

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Answered on 10/16/19, 11:40 am
Gerald Dorfman Dorfman Law Office

No. A petition to have the stock deemed trust property will be required in order to distribute it through the trust. If the 4 heirs are the ONLY heirs under the laws of intestate succession, and there is no will (or the will designates the same heirs) AND the total of all property left out of the trust is under $150,000, then an affidavit could work.

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Answered on 10/16/19, 11:50 am


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