» Estate Planning

I don’t really own anything, do I need a will?

If you don’t have property right now, you likely don’t need a will to deal with property issues. However, if you have children, you can write in your will who you prefer to care for your children if another parent is not available to take over. Your preference may still be subject to court oversight, but knowing your preference is important.

What is an advance directive and do I need one?

An advance directive is a document that gives instructions to your loved ones and medical care providers about how to take care of you if you are unable to make medical decisions for yourself. If you have strong feelings about life support, organ donation, or tube feeding, it is a good idea to have an advance directive so that your wishes will be honored.

My family member recently died and I am not sure if the will should be submitted to the probate court or if it is a small estate, how do I know?

For all Oregon estates that have real estate (land and houses) worth less than $200,000 and all other property (cash, retirement accounts, items) worth less than $75,000, the estate may be settled with a small estate affidavit. This process is much easier and takes less time than probate.

If the estate value is greater than the values listed above and there is only a will (no trusts or other methods of distributing the assets), it is likely that the estate will need to be supervised by the probate court.