If an asset is discovered after an estate is closed, who receives it?

When it comes to the administration of a trust or estate, it can sometimes seem that nothing is ever simple. Even when you think the administration process is complete, assets may be discovered that now need to be dealt with. When the estate has been closed or the trust terminated, this process can be slightly more complicated to carry out.

Disposition of Assets Uncovered After Estate Administration

If an asset belonging to the estate or trust of your loved one was discovered after administration is complete, it is important to consult with an experienced attorney for guidance. Otherwise, you may find yourself distributing the property to the wrong recipient. Following are three potential recipients of the assets of an estate or trust after administration is complete:

  1. The heirs at law of the decedent. The heirs at law are the people who are slated to inherit the decedent’s property under the laws of California and the Superior Court in Orange County. The heirs receive the asset if the decedent passed away without a will, if there was no one named to receive the remainder property of the estate under a will, or if there was a trust, but no will, and the asset is not within the trust.
  2. The beneficiaries named under the decedent’s will. In some cases, the final order for distribution of the trust or estate assets will contain a provision that dictates any later   discovered assets should go to the beneficiaries under the will in accordance with its terms. It is important to review this order before distributing the asset. Similarly, the court may order that the beneficiaries of the will are the rightful recipients of the assets.
  3. The beneficiaries named under the trust. If the asset is made payable to the trust, the beneficiaries of the trust may be the rightful recipients. In many cases, the will contains a provision that places all assets into the trust. If the asset is payable to the estate and the will directs the assets to the trust, the beneficiaries of the trust are the rightful recipients of the newly discovered asset.

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