Protecting your estate for your descendants is one of the best legacies you can pass on. When it comes to wills and estate planning, Beaverton attorney Brad Schrock has the knowledge and experience to help ensure your family will be well taken care of in the future. Brad provides professional estate planning services for both simple and complex estates, and believes in a team approach.
Estate Planning FAQ’s (Oregon)
- What is a will? A will is a legal document that sets forth a person’s directions as to how their estate (property) is to be distributed upon death. A will takes effect on death, and must be filed in a court to begin a process called “probate”. A will may be modified at any time before a person dies, so long as the person still has capacity.
- What is a living trust? A living trust is established by a person, called the “settlor” during her (or his) lifetime (or often by a married couple) to control her property during her lifetime, and provides her directions as to how the property is to be distributed upon her death. The trust is managed by a “trustee”. The trust may be revoked or changed at any time during the lifetime of the settlor, and becomes irrevocable when the settlor dies.
- What are the legal requirements for a will in Oregon? A person (with some exceptions) must be at least eighteen years of age to make a will. The will must be signed by the person making the will in the presence of two witnesses, and those witnesses must both sign the will as witnesses. A will must be in writing (not including electronic records, documents or images).
- What are the advantages of a living trust? With a living trust, the successor trustee has authority to take control of the assets immediately after death of the settlor. The administration process is normally private – there is no need to file anything in court. The living trust avoids the procedures and legal expense of probate. However, the most important advantage is that it makes it much easier for the other family members in a difficult time.
- Is a living trust always appropriate? No, this depends on the circumstances, and the personal preferences of the individual.
- What is a “living will”? In Oregon, there is no “living will”, although a valid living will from another state should be honored in Oregon. The term generally refers to instructions that are given for advanced health care and the possible designation of a health care representative. In Oregon, this is done through a document called an “Advanced Care Directive”.
- What happens if a person dies without a will or living trust? This means that the person has died “intestate”. If there are assets, then a probate must be opened in the court, and the estate will be distributed in accordance with Oregon law that dictates how the estate is to be distributed.
- Can people challenge the will? Yes, wills are often challenged. Often, the basis of the challenge is an alleged lack of capacity of the person making the will, or the allegation that one of the beneficiaries exerted undue influence over the person. These challenges happen in the probate proceeding itself.
- Can I provide for my pets? In Oregon, pets are personal property. So, you cannot give part of your estate to your pet. However, there are ways to provide for your pet in your estate plan. These ways include the possibility of setting up a trust for your pet or pets, but there are also some other solutions that are less expensive and may be better for your situation.
Estate Planning Article
Read Bradley Schrock’s article, “What Type of Estate Plan do I Need?”