Medford Probate Attorney
Klamath Falls & Medford Estate Administration Services for Clients Since 2001
When a person passes away, the transfer of his or her estate to heirs and beneficiaries is commonly handled through a court-supervised process known as probate. This is a legal process that has many steps that must be handled according to state law. Probate may not be necessary in some cases, such as where a trust was established to transfer the deceased person’s assets, where the deceased person owned property jointly with another, or where so few assets remain (such as only personal belongings or household items) that court supervision is not required. However, where the deceased owned assets of value, such as a home, vehicle, bank accounts, and more, the transfer requires probate.
The probate process is generally managed by an executor named in the will or by a court-appointed personal representative. If you need legal assistance or representation in handling a probate matter as either the executor or personal representative, you can turn to Oakes Law Office, PC. Our firm has assisted countless clients throughout the process in all matters pertaining to this procedure, from will contests to ensuring all steps are completed properly.
The Probate Process in Oregon
The steps involved and the time it will take to complete a probate will be based on the specifics of the particular estate, such as its size and complexity as well as court schedules. Where the deceased passed away without a will, the estate will be subject to Oregon “intestacy” laws that dictate how it will be distributed. In cases where a will exists, it must be validated by the court after which the estate will be distributed according to the instructions contained within it.
In general, probate steps include:
- A petition must be filed with the probate court to begin the process
- The heirs and beneficiaries of the will must be notified or, if no will exists, the statutory heirs must be notified
- A petition must filed to appoint the executor or to have a personal representative appointed by the court
- All of the decedent’s assets and property must be located, inventoried, and appraised or valued.
- Notices must be sent to any creditors who have valid claims against the estate
- Any valid debts owed by the estate are paid
- State and federal tax returns are prepared and all taxes paid, including inheritance, estate, and/or gift taxes
- Estate assets are liquidated where necessary
- Any other estate expenses are paid such as for accountants, appraisers, and to the executor for his or her services
- Remaining assets are distributed to the heirs and beneficiaries according to the will or according to state law
- A final accounting is made of all actions taken in the administration of the estate, including all monies collected and paid out
In some cases, litigation may be required where disputes arise pertaining to the will, its named executor, and/or its distribution. These contests can add time and expense to the process.
Not all assets are subject to probate. For example, non-probate assets can include jointly-owned real estate which passes to the surviving co-owner, retirement accounts, life insurance policies, and financial accounts set up with “payable on death” beneficiaries. Estates held in living trusts also are not subject to the probate process.
Our Medford attorney works with executors and personal representatives throughout Jackson County in the handling of all steps of the probate process. Let us use our decades of experience to help you confidently settle and close the estate of your family member.