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Watch Out for These Fraudulent Estate Planning Scams

You create an estate plan to protect your assets and your heirs – but what if you end up being scammed in the process? Unfortunately, there are some bad actors out there, and many of them would love to get their hands on a person’s life savings. Watch out for these...

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How to Disinherit a Family Member and Why You May Want To

When someone dies, that person’s estate typically passes to any surviving spouse, children, or other close relatives. If a person dies intestate – without a will – the estate will likely be distributed this way under state law. But what if you don’t want one of your...

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Estate Planning is a Crucial Step in Your Emergency Preparedness

Recent events have shown Oregonians the importance of emergency planning. If you’re healthy and safe now, that’s good – but it doesn’t mean it’s time to relax. Another emergency will come, and you should take steps now to prepare for it. Develop an Emergency Plan Do...

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How Oregon Estate Planning Laws Deal with Deathbed Marriages

Wedding vows are often meant to last “till death do us part” – but what if death comes immediately after the wedding? Deathbed marriages, in which one spouse is terminally ill, can cause an estate planning nightmare. Here’s how they’re handled in Oregon. Why Do...

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The Slayer Statute in Oregon Estate Planning

When it comes to Oregon estate law, crime really doesn’t pay. Killing someone for the inheritance money may sound like something out of a mystery movie, but it’s common enough that there are estate laws that deal with the issue. Slayer Statutes, as they’re commonly...

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Elective Share: Spousal Rights in Oregon

What happens if one spouse disinherits the other? The answer, as with many complex legal questions, is that it depends. In Oregon, however, surviving spouses have the right to what is known as the spousal elective share. Key Terms to Know Before diving into the Oregon...

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Basic Estate Planning

Do you think that estate planning is important – for other people? You may be in for a surprise. Estate planning isn’t just for the rich or elderly. It’s for anyone with assets, whether they’re retirement plans, bank accounts, life insurance policies, property or...

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Wills and Trusts – What Are the Differences?

When you work on your estate plan, you’ll likely hear a lot about wills and trusts. These are two very important tools in estate planning, and although some people might get them confused, they serve different roles. What is a Will? The will, or the last will and...

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Estate Planning for Blended Families: Proactive Strategies

Love can blind us. When it comes to your estate plan, you need to make sure you’re seeing clearly. This is true for all people, but it’s especially important when dealing with the complications that come with blended families. With the right estate planning...

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If You Become Critically Ill: Urgent Estate Planning Measures

Life can change in the blink of an eye. One day, you might be healthy and happy. The next day, you could be facing a serious diagnosis. If you become critically ill, there are several urgent estate planning measures that you need to take. Create or Update Your Will...

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Probate Gone Wrong: When Good People Have Bad Estate Plans

You’ve probably heard that you need an estate plan. It’s true. Estate planning is important for every adult. But when it comes to estate plans, it’s not just a matter of whether you have one, yes or no. It’s also a matter of whether you have a good estate plan. After...

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What is Probate and How Long Does Probate Take?

Probate is a common process that many estates need to go through, but for anyone who has never encountered it before, it can be confusing. If you're dealing with probate for the first time, you probably have many basic questions about what probate is and how long it...

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Estate Planning Implications of COVID-19

Sometimes people are forced to face their own mortality. The COVID-19 pandemic has become one of those times. The current pandemic has shown how important estate planning and incapacity planning are. Get Your Estate Plan in Order If you’ve been putting off estate...

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Oregon Probate: What Does an Estate Executor Do?

After someone dies, the person’s estate needs to pay off any debts before the remaining assets can be distributed to the heirs. Often, this requires probate, a legal process overseen by a court. The personal representative, also called the executor of the estate, will...

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Oregon Probate FAQ

Dealing with probate? You probably have lots of questions. Don’t worry. We’ve got answers. Here are the answers to the most frequently asked questions about Oregon probate. Q: What exactly is probate? A: Probate is a legal process in which a court authenticates any...

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When Is Probate Required in Oregon? Six Scenarios

After a person dies, the estate may go into probate. Probate is a legal process in which a court oversees the payment of any debt and the distribution of the estate, according to the terms of the will, if there is one. Although probate is not always required, it is...

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Why Does Oregon Probate Take So Long?

If you’ve ever been involved in Oregon probate, you know that it can be a long and complicated process. The time needed can vary significantly – a simple case might require a few months, while a more difficult case might drag on for years. This can be frustrating for...

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How Vehicles Are Handled in Probate

After a house, a car may be one of the most expensive items a person owns. Given this, how vehicles are handled during probate may become an important issue for an executor or beneficiary of an estate. What Is Probate? Before understanding how vehicles are handled...

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How to Broach Estate Planning Topics During the Holidays

When you get together with your relatives this holiday season, you may decide to avoid topics like politics and religion. To keep the peace, this is probably a good idea. But there’s one difficult topic that you might not want to avoid: estate planning. Although...

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Estate Planning for Same Sex Couples: Why It’s Essential

Estate planning is essential for all couples, and this includes same sex couples. Now that same sex marriage is recognized throughout the U.S., some estate planning aspects have been simplified. However, there are still issues that must be considered. Same Sex Couples...

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Digital Estate Planning: What is it and Why Does it Matter?

Your digital estate might be bigger than you realize. As computers and the internet have become an increasingly important part of everyday life, digital estate planning has also become more important. If you haven’t given any thought to your digital estate planning,...

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What Is Estate Planning and Why Does It Matter to Me?

Estate planning is essential for all adults. Regardless of the size of your estate, estate planning lets you decide what will happen to your property. It gives you the tools needed to avoid problems down the line and to provide for your loved ones. Here’s why estate...

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The Estate Planning Checklist: What Your Plans Should Include

You know you need an estate plan. You’re a little fuzzier on the details. You’re not sure what needs to go in your estate plan, only that it’s vital not to forget anything. To help, here’s an estate planning checklist that outlines the most considerations that may...

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Choosing an Estate Planning Law Firm? Ask These Eight Questions

You’re ready to start your estate planning. Great. That’s a smart decision that will help protect you, your legacy and your family. Now you need to find an estate planning law firm. You don’t want to go with just any law firm, however. You need one with the right...

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Estate Planning for Alzheimer’s Patients: Key Considerations

Alzheimer’s disease causes cognitive impairment, difficulty caring for oneself and, ultimately, death. It’s also very common. According to the National Institute on Aging, Alzheimer’s disease likely impacts more than 5.5 million Americans. The symptoms and outcomes of...

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Infographic: 5 Things to Do if you Haven’t Filed your Taxes

It's not the end of the world if you're still scrambling to get your taxes done. Stay calm and keep in mind that this happens to millions of Americans every April. As long as you remain proactive, it's unlikely the tax man will come banging down your door. Follow the...

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Estate Planning for Blended Families – Five Tips for Success

Estate planning for blended families can be quite challenging and can make spouses wish they had signed a premarital agreement to address these concerns prior to getting married. For example, if a woman with two children marries a wealthy man with two children of his...

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Are You Making These Four Common Estate Planning Mistakes?

Most estate planning mistakes tend to fall into one of several categories. Every estate plan has unique features, but the same problems and mistakes recur. Each of the classic mistakes is avoidable. With an awareness of some of the potential pitfalls, you can save...

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Legal Documents to Consider When Your Child Turns 18

A child’s 18th birthday is momentous. Your child can register to vote, serve on a jury, marry without parental consent, and own property without a named conservator. At 18, your child may also apply for a credit card and decide to spend spring break in Florida with...

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Gifts of Art to Museums and Other Nonprofits

The Portland Art Museum (“PAM”) has received about 90% of its art from individuals seeking to make a meaningful donation and to give back to their community. It’s impossible to walk through PAM without seeing contributions from many local families, starting with the...

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Four Things to Know if an Executor isn’t Doing Their Job

An executor of an estate is responsible for carrying out the wishes of a decedent, paying the bills, filing taxes, and distributing assets appropriately. The executor has a responsibility to do so in a timely manner and to act in the best interest of the...

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Estate Tax and Gift Tax Developments

The IRS recently announced the 2018 estate tax exemption and annual gift exclusion amounts, and both are rising due to inflation. As a background, the federal government imposes a tax at death of any US person who has at least $5,000,000, as adjusted for inflation. To...

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Beware of Unintended Consequences of Beneficiary Designations

A beneficiary designation is when you name a specific person to receive your assets when you pass away. Retirement accounts, annuities, life insurance, pay on death accounts, all require beneficiary designations. You make these designations outside of traditional...

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Oregon Estate Planning: The Basics

Basic Estate Planning Are you considering creating or updating your estate plan?  Here is some helpful information to help you understand the basics about estate plans. What is an Estate Plan? An estate plan is a set of documents that provide instructions regarding...

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Conservatorships vs. Guardianships: Learn the Basics

Who can serve as the guardian or conservator? A court will honor the protected person’s express wishes for who he or she would like to serve as guardian or conservator, if possible. Usually a family member will serve as guardian or conservator, but he or she must be...

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Care and Estate Planning for Alzheimer’s Patients

Originally published in the Portland Business Journal on March 14, 2016. Co-written with Tracy Morgan, executive director at the Alzheimer's Association's Oregon Chapter.  Since 1982, the Alzheimer's Association has invested more than $350 million in more than 2,300...

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Tax Law Lessons: The Drawbacks of GoFundMe Accounts

Originally published in the Portland Business Journal on August 24, 2016 On Oct. 1, 2015, Chris Mintz was shot seven times while trying to protect others from the gunman at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg The day after the shooting, his cousin set up a GoFundMe...

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Tax Law Lessons: Mark Zuckerberg’s Charitable Pledge

Originally published in the Portland Business Journal on March 11, 2016 Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook, has pledged to put 99 percent of his stock in Facebook toward advancing human potential and promoting equality. The value of his stock currently stands at...

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Estate Planning for Unmarried Couples: What You Need to Know

More Americans are not marrying, although some couples choose to live their lives together and remain unmarried. The decision to not marry can have some surprising, unexpected outcomes with regard to estate planning and inheritance considerations. Here are a few...

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What Happens to My Facebook Page if I Die?

Facebook is now making it easier for users to plan for their online afterlife. If a Facebook user passes away and does not provide Facebook with any instructions prior to death, the family of the decedent may contact Facebook and request that the account be deleted....

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Portland Estate Planning: Beneficiary Designations

People often will believe that their intent as expressed in their estate planning documents will govern all distributions made at their death. This is simply not true. As do-it-yourself estate planning becomes more common due to online forms, it is expected that...

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International Wills

This article is co-authored by Marisol Cordero-Goodman The validity of an international will has been the subject of much discussion and debate among Estate Planning Practitioners.  So much so that practitioners at several international conventions have discussed...

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