The probate code 850 petition, commonly known as a Heggstad petition, facilitates the legal process of avoiding extensive court probate administration procedures. It requests the court to order properties that should have been titled in the name of a trust but were not. Heggstad petitions are a cost-effective and robust tool that can save you time and money. They can also assist in the detection of any possible trust disputes, trust challenges, trustee suspension, trustee removal, or violation of fiduciary responsibility that may be waiting in the wings. In this article, we will define what a Heggstad Petition is, along with some of the requirements to file a probate code 850 (Heggstad) petition.

What is a Heggstad Petition

The “conveyance of property transfer alleged to belong to deceased or another person” is governed by a California Probate Code 850 Petition, often known as a Heggstad petition. Section 850 of the Probate Code establishes a mechanism for plaintiffs seeking to transfer property into or out of a trust or estate. It’s a common vehicle in Trust and Estate litigation, but it’s also one of the most misunderstood. An 850 Petition is often utilized when a deceased established a trust but failed to title one or more properties in the trust’s name, the most frequent of which are real estate and bank or investment accounts.

The most typical scenario that has occurred in the Heggstad case is when the decedent possessed a property, transferred it to the trust, then removed it from the trust to refinance the property, but never retitled the property in the trust’s name before passing away. Prior to Heggstad, the executor of the decedent’s estate would have to go through a lengthy, court-supervised probate proceeding just to have the asset distributed to the trust, from where it would be administered by the trustee and eventually distributed to the beneficiaries, a cumbersome, duplicative, time-consuming, and expensive process. Now, the trust’s trustee can expedite those procedures, saving the estate both time and money.

Requirements for a probate code 850 (Heggstad) petition

The foundation for such a petition was laid forth in the Estate of Heggstad case. This situation, however, has restrictions, and not every property will be accepted into a trust. One need, for example, is that the property be referenced in either the trust document or a separate written estate document. If this property is not declared, it will most likely fail to fulfill the Heggstad case’s requirements. A petitioner cannot merely claim without evidence that the decedent intended to put particular assets into a trust but never did so correctly.

To get relief under California Probate Code 850, the claimant must file a petition with specific facts to back up their claim. All interested persons’ names and addresses should be included in the petition. The petition’s hearing date must be communicated to all interested parties. If an interested party files a challenge to the 850 petitions, the case will be heard in court as follows:

1. Trial Setting Conference
2. Mandatory Settlement Conference
3. Trial

Both the moving and non-moving parties have the ability to undertake discovery over the course of the case. Depositions, interrogatories, and document production are all part of this process. Supporting evidence proving the Settlor’s desire to hold the property in trust should be included in the petition. The majority of Heggstad petitions are settled in under three months. If a petition is accepted, the assets become part of the trust and are therefore under the trustee’s supervision.


To sum it all up, the Probate code 850 (Heggstad) petition is a cost-effective time-saving process that facilitates by requesting a court to order properties that should have been designated under the name of trust but weren’t. One of the most common scenarios that have necessitated using the Heggstad petition is where before passing away, the deceased owned a property, transferred it to the trust, then removed it from the trust to refinance the property, but never retitled it in the trust’s name. The Heggstad petition is immensely useful in these circumstances.