Many people fear an estate planning process known as “probate”. In Oregon, avoiding probate is a priority for many people, but is that even possible?
What is probate?
Probate is simply the court-supervised process of overseeing and distributing property after one’s death, mainly revolving around 3 main issues:
- Determining the final wishes of the deceased
- Paying their debts
- Disbursing their assets to their beneficiaries
During the probate process, many legal documents are called into question. Heirs and executors are identified and confirmed. Property is appraised and distributed according to state laws.
Seems simple enough, right?
So, why would you wish to avoid this? What steps can you and your attorney take for how can you avoid probate in Oregon?
Why people may want to avoid probate in Oregon
Most people set up their estate plan in such a way that allows for their surviving family members to skip the probate process altogether.
Probate can be a very long procedure, sometimes taking 6 months, a year, or more! Additionally, probate can incur additional fees for court costs and attorney’s compensation. These costs can take a bite out of estate funds which may otherwise go to inheritance or charitable giving.
Some states do allow for probate exemptions, depending on the value of the estate. However, only your local Eugene estate planning attorney can determine what applies to your unique situation.
Avoiding probate in Oregon through estate planning
There are several ways to avoid probate. Your lawyer will be able to advise you on the best course of action for your circumstances:
When your legal paperwork for a certain asset includes a beneficiary, this asset may directly transfer to this individual after your death. “Transfer-on-death,” or TOD assets like bank accounts, insurance accounts, and in some states, real estate and vehicles, remain in your control until you pass away.
Creating a living trust
A revocable living trust is a great way to safeguard your financial assets from probate. This holds them in a controlled trust while you are alive. You transfer certain assets into a trust for safekeeping, under the eye of a trustee. Upon your death, the terms of the trust determine distribution of the assets to your beneficiaries.
One easy way that you can prevent your loved ones from going through probate after you die is by creating a joint tenancy, with the “right of survivorship.” This is a popular choice for couples who live together or otherwise share property together. You can create this paperwork with an experienced estate planning attorney!
Avoiding probate in Oregon? Get the Oregon estate plan you need
Want to learn more about probate and why you may wish to avoid it?