Why is a will important?
A will is a simply a set of instructions that explains how you want your property distributed after your death. To make a will in Oregon, you must be at least 18 years old and of sound mind. You can make a will before you turn 18, if you are married, A will must be in writing and must be signed by you in front of two witnesses, who also must sign the will. Holographic wills, or a will solely in the handwriting of the testator (will maker), not signed in front of 2 witnesses is not recognized under Oregon Law. You must observe all the Oregon legal formalities to create a will that will be followed by the Probate court.
Why use a will?
Using a will allows you to make the choice of who will manage your money and other property after you die, and who or what will receive your estate. It lets your wishes be heard regarding the care of children. In a estate of high value, a will can also reduce the amount of taxes that may be due at your death.
A will does not avoid probate.
The will must be proven through the probate process. Having a will may reduce the cost of probate and avoid the necessity of the cost of a bond for your personal representative. You may be able to avoid probate if you have a Small Estate (see Probate tab) of value less than the Oregon statutory maximums.
What if I die without a will?
Your property will be distributed according to the Oregon law of intestate succession. If you leave no family to receive your estate, then your property would go to the State of Oregon through a process know as Escheat. If you are married, but have no children, your entire estate would go to your spouse. If you have children with your spouse, the children would receive nothing, but all would go to your spouse. If you have a spouse and children of a previous marriage, ½ of your estate would go to your spouse and ½ to your children. A will is always important even if you feel that you have little or nothing to pass on. Contact us for a free consultation.
Does a living trust substitute for a will?
Yes. A revocable “living” trust may be used to substitute and can reduce costs by avoiding the probate process altogether. Please see the tab/page under “Living Trusts.”
At George E. Price, Attorney at Law, we pride ourselves on assisting people in their estate planning with a maximum of thoughtfulness and care and a minimum of cost. Please call me at (503) 363-7334 or email me today to arrange for a free initial consultation.
317 Court Street NE
Salem, OR 97301
Phone (503) 363-7334
Fax (503) 581-2260