How does property not covered by a trust get divided?

1 answer | Last updated: Oct 24, 2010
A fellow caregiver asked...

If there is a trust, but many items are not in the trust, how would they be divided up?

Expert Answers

Barbara Repa, a senior editor, is an attorney, a journalist specializing in aging issues, and the author of Your Rights in the Workplace (Nolo), now in its 10th edition.

The situation you describe is a common one, since many people put only their most valuable property in a trust, or acquire property after a trust is set up but neglect to transfer it into the trust.

To prevent confusion, most people who have a trust also have a simple will that provides a backup plan for any property that doesn’t make it into the trust. And that will sometimes names people or organizations to take the property other than those specified to take the property in the trust.

If there is no will, any property that isn’t transferred by a living trust or other method, such as joint tenancy, will go to the person's closest relatives as determined by a hierarchy set out in state law.