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 will, pays any debts owed by the estate, and distributes the estate according to the will.  If there is no will, distribution of the estate will follow Oregon law for intestate estates.

Q: Is probate always required?
A: Probate is not always required, but it often is. Probate is especially common when the estate involves titled property that must be transferred to the heirs. Probate is also typically needed for larger estates, as smaller estate may be able to bypass probate by securing a small estate affidavit.

Q: Who is the personal representative?
A: The personal representative is the executor of the estate, often the spouse or adult child of the deceased, and is responsible for determining the estate’s assets and debts. The will typically names an executor, but this person does not have to accept the responsibility. If there is no will, the court will appoint a personal representative.

Q: What is an Oregon probate inventory?
A: The inventory lists the assets belonging to the estate. The personal representative is usually required to submit the inventory within 60 days of being appointed.

Q: How does the notice to creditors work?
A: The personal representative is responsible for notifying creditors of the death so that the creditors can file a claim. Known creditors can be notified directly, but some creditors may not be known by the personal representative. The personal representative publishes a notice to creditors in the newspaper to alert potential creditors.

Q: What is a verified statement or final accounting?
A: The final accounting of the estate is a document filed toward the end of the probate process. It provides an accounting of the estate’s assets, including the money collected or paid by the estate. However, the personal representative can file a verified statement instead of a final accounting if the heirs

Q: How can you avoid Oregon probate?
A: Probate cannot always be avoided, but there are certain steps you can take to make probate less likely, or at least to help speed up the process. Proper estate planning is essential. This includes the creation of a legal will, but it also involves other key documents. To avoid confusion and complications, these documents should not contradict each other. It’s also important to discuss the estate plan with the family, as this can help avoid potential disputes that may lead to probate complications.

Q: How can I initiate the probate process?
A: Probate is complicated, so it’s smart to have an expert to guide you through the process. Hire an attorney to prepare the necessary paperwork. When meeting with an attorney, bring a copy of the death certificate, the original will and a list of assets and debts, if possible.

Need help with Oregon Probate? Skinner Law is here for you. Contact us to schedule an appointment.

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