Wills & Probate

What is a will?

A will is simply a formal statement of how you want your possessions to be distributed after you are gone. 

Why do I need one?

If you don't have a will, the laws of the state in which you reside will control the distribution under what is know as intestate succession.  If you have minor children, you also need a will to make arrangements for a guardian or conservator to care for them. 

Is a will expensive?

For most people, preparing a simple will is easy, quick and inexpensive.  Once you complete a Will Information Form, we meet to discuss your estate plan.  The will is then prepared and ready for signing.


What is probate?

Probate is the procedure by which the court makes sure that, upon your death, your possessions go the the people that you want them to go to (if you have a will) or to those entitled to them by law (if you do not have a will).

Does probate take a long time?

Most probates can be completed in as little as six months.  There are statutory notice requirements to make sure the proper parties receive the information they are entitled to.  Probate can take longer in more complicated estates, usually when there are assets that are difficult to dispose of.

Is probate expensive?

The cost of a probate depends on the type of estate.  The court requires certain notices and filings and there are certain tasks (such as managing and disposing of property) that must be done.  The personal representative can save expenses by doing some of the tasks.  Attorney fees are paid out of the estate, and must be approved by the court.   If you have a question about a particular estate, please contact me.

Small Estate Affidavits

In some cases, the normal probate procedure can be avoided by the filing of a Small Estate Affidavit.  Instead, an Affidavit is filed and served on interested persons.  In Oregon, an estate may qualify if it has a total value of $275,000 or less, not more than $75,000 of which is personal property and not more than $200,000 of which is real property.

Durable Power of Attorney

A durable power of attorney allows the person that you designate to act for you if you become incapacitated.  It is a simple form, but invaluable.

Directive to Physician

This is another simple form that can be invaluable, particularly to the ones you love.  It provides specific instructions on what life support measures should be taken in the event of your incapacity.