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By: Scott Grossman on August 2nd, 2016

Assets Found after Closing an Estate

Once the estate is closed after a lengthy probate administration, you may feel relieved that your obligations are now behind you. Sometimes, however, assets found after closing an estate happen. Any newly discovered assets will be managed and distributed just as you did with the assets that you knew about during the probate administration. Depending on the facts and circumstances surrounding your loved one’s estate will determine where these assets will ultimately go.

How Assets Found after Closing an Estate are handled –

Generally, follow the below guidelines to distribute assets discovered after an estate is closed:

  1. The intestacy laws in the state of California. When the decedent did not have a will, his heirs, as defined by law, inherit his property. The newly discovered asset will pass to this individual or individuals.
  2. The provisions contained within the decedent’s will. What if an estate needs to be reopened? In such a case, any assets are distributed in the same manner as they would have been having it been known during the administration process. For example, a decedent’s will names his four children as his beneficiaries. As a result, the new asset will be divided four ways and distributed to those individuals.
  3. The provisions contained within the decedent’s trust. If the decedent passed away with a will that called for all assets to be placed in the decedent’s trust, the new asset will ultimately end up in the trust as well. Once the new asset is in the trust, it will be held, sold, or distributed following the terms of that instrument.
  4. The terms of the final order of distribution for the estate. In many cases, the final order for distribution will contain a specific provision. Such provision may direct that any assets that are found after the estate is closed are to be distributed to the beneficiaries of the will. The distribution will be following the will terms—without the need for additional court oversight. A copy of the final order can be obtained from the court with jurisdiction. For example, the Superior Court in San Diego County.

It is important to know who the proper recipients of an estate’s assets are to avoid disputes, harm to the estate, and potential liability.


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