dad died with a trust and has his house in CA in the trust. He sold that house and moved to Utah where he bought a new house but hadn't put it in the trust prior to his death. He had only been in his new house in Utah for 7 months. He died instantly and suddenly from a brain hemorrhage before he was able to meet with his estate planner and make the addition to his trust.
1. See if your father executed what is called a Pour Over Will.
2. If he did, make sure they are valid in his jurisdiction.
Best of luck.
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First off, I am sorry for your loss. Losing a family member (especially unexpectedly) is awful. Unfortunately, there is no such assumption in Utah. This is one big reason that it is advisable to meet and update your estate plan every few years. Things and circumstances change. He could have purchased the home in the name of the trust.
Was there anyone on title to the house with him? If so there is a chance that you could avoid probate if they held the property in joint tenancy. If not it looks like the fastest way to transition the assets to his heirs would be through an informal probate. I recommend getting an attorney to help you through this (self-serving I know) but I have seen too many people try it by themselves, and they spend so much time figuring out how to do it that in the end they give up and get an attorney anyways.
That is frustrating that he had the foresight to get a trust, but because of his unexpected passing was unable to utilize it for his house.
So sorry for your loss.
As has been said, there is no assumption that the house was held in Trust. However, if no other CA assets will need to be probated, he may or may not be considered domiciled in Utah for probate purposes. If he was domiciled in Utah (you would need legal counsel to determine this), then you can do a simple Utah probate at a lower cost than CA.
I am sorry that his passing has become more complicated than it needs to be. I hope you can find resolution soon.
This answer does not form an attorney-client relationship, and is not legal advice. Only an attorney that has agreed to represent you may give you advice specific to your situation.
Unfortunately, it is not safe to assume. This is actually a quite common problem and why we beg and plead with our clients to review their plans with us at least every three years. I just met with a client last Friday to revise his plans and he had sold his house owned at the time the plans were originally created, but the new reidsnce had never been conveyed into the trust in the nine years since it was purchased. Luckily, his financial advisor kept hounding him to come review until he finally did and we got it corrected.
If we can assist you with the probate process, please feel free to call us for a free initial consultation.
I'm so sorry for your loss. Unfortunately, I can't give you good news. Any good estate lawyer will tell you that a trust doesn't work unless property is kept in the trust. Your father's non-trust property will need to pass through the appropriate probate process. You'll want to hire an experienced probate attorney in your area who can help you through this time. Best of luck to you.
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