If someone living in Oregon has named me as the personal representative or executor in their Will, then I will need to begin the process known as probate.  Here is a summary overview and outline of the Probate process in Oregon (we also handle Washington and California probates, but the process is a little different in those states):

  1. When my loved-one passes away, I will need to get a copy of the death certificate along with a copy of their estate planning documents including their Will and/or Trust and bring them to an attorney.
  2. If my loved-one had any assets, the attorney will draft a Probate Petition for me and, if needed, work with a bonding company to purchase a bond that the court may require me to have in order to serve as the personal representative of the estate.
  3. Once finalized and signed, the attorney will file the Probate Petition with the county court where my loved-one lived.  The petition will provide information about my  loved-one, information about heirs, and a list of the deceased loved-one’s assets.  Finally, the petition will ask the court to issue Letters Testamentary.
  4. The court will then approve the petition and grant me Letters Testamentary.
  5. With the Letters Testamentary, I can begin collecting all of my loved-one’s assets and open a new bank account for the estate.  Without the Letters Testamentary, the bank, financial advisors, and others generally will not give you information about your loved-one’s accounts or help you gather the assets.
  6. Meanwhile, the attorney will prepare and publish a notice in the newspaper informing the public that my loved one has passed.  This is required in Oregon, because it gives creditors a chance to come forward and make their claims against the estate.
  7. Once I have gathered the assets, I will give the information to the attorney and they will prepare an accounting, which will also be filed with the court.
  8. At this point, we wait for 4 months to pass from the time the newspaper notice is published.  In the meantime, I am reasonable for preserving the assets of the estate.  In some instances, I will be able to sell my loved-one’s home and other assets.
  9. Finally, once the required time has passed and the court has approved everything, I can  distribute the assets according to the terms of the Will, or if there is no will, I will distribute the assets according to Oregon’s statutes.
  10. Additionally, if my loved-one’s gross estate is over $1 Million, then I will need to prepare and file an Oregon estate tax return.  To calculate the potential estate taxes, click here.
  11. Please visit our Contact Us page, or call us at 503-641-6262, or email us at info@myattandbell.com to schedule an appointment to start the process of probating your loved-one’s estate.
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