Will: An estate with a Will is called a “testate estate”. The Will is submitted to the court and the lawyer and the Personal Representative follow the terms of the Will. The Will should lay out who will be Personal Representative, who will receive the property of the estate, and how to deal with creditors. It is important that you bring the Will to the first meeting with the inheritance lawyer so that he or she can examine the Will to determine if it complies with the requirements of a Will under Oregon law.
Probate in general: Unless a decedent had no assets, had all of his or her assets in a trust, had only property with beneficiary designations or joint ownership then the decedent’s estate will go through probate. The probate system requires that the Personal Representative and his or her attorney go through a series of steps including but not limited to:
- Petitioning the Court to appoint Personal Representative and Open Estate
- Publishing notice of the Probate proceeding in the newspaper
- Notifying the Department of Human Services of the probate proceeding
- Notifying potential Creditors of the probate proceeding
- Paying the decedent’s valid bills and other debts
- Notifying the heirs of the decedent (those who would take the estate under intestate succession) and the devisees of the decedent (those who take under the Will) of the probate proceeding.
- Submitting an Inventory of Estate assets to the Court
- Petitioning for permission to distribute the assets to the heirs or devisees
- Petitioning the court to close the estate
I can help you comply with all of the court filing requirements. In addition I can assist you with handling estate accounting issues, transferring ownership of the assets, and, in general, wrapping up the decedent’s affairs. The following non-court related tasks are often required during the administration of an estate:
- Completing forms from banks or other financial institutions
- Assisting you with selling real estate such as the decedent’s home or other real property
- Assisting you with cataloguing estate assets, determining the size of bank accounts or lending accounts.
- Keeping book-keeping records such as a check registry and register of payments and receipts.
- Drafting receipts for individuals that have been hired by the estate or for any other individual receiving estate property
- Coordinating distribution plans between family members
- Generally advocating on your behalf in order to complete the estate administration process.
Please call me today if you feel that you could use the services of an estate administration lawyer.