1. Oregon Does Not Recognize Purely Holographic Wills

    Unlike many other states, purely handwritten, or holographic, wills
    will not be recognized by Oregon courts as valid unless they are signed
    and witnessed with certain formalities. For a will to be valid in Oregon
    it should be signed and dated by the person making the will, or the
    testator, at the end of the will. The testator’s signature must be
    attested by at least two witnesses, who must see the testator actually
    sign the will in order to sign as witness. The testator’s signature need
    not be notarized, but it is very helpful to have the witnesses also
    sign a notarized affidavit at the time they sign as witnesses. This
    affidavit is necessary to admit the will to a probate court as proof
    that the witness’ signatures were valid. Without this affidavit, it will
    be necessary to obtain such an affidavit before the will is admitted to
    probate, and it can be difficult to find the witnesses if the will is
    not admitted to probate until many years after it was signed.  Read More...

  2. Legal Separations

    Family law clients often contact our firm to assist them in seeking a
    legal separation from their spouses, believing that a separation is a
    better option than a divorce. While it may be a good option for certain
    clients, a legal separation is generally just as expensive as a divorce,
    and may not offer the kind of protection that a client is seeking. For
    that reason, it is important for clients to consider exactly what they
    are trying to accomplish, and how best to achieve that.  Read More...

  3. 2012 Deschutes County Circuit Court Judicial Elections

    The May 2012 Primary Election results are in, and it’s BAGLEY vs. BALYEAT in the November general election for Deschutes County Circuit Court Judge.  Read More...

  4. Waiting Period for Divorce Shortened

    Family law clients often ask how quickly their divorces can be
    finalized. In Oregon, parties seeking a divorce have generally had to
    wait for 90 days after filing for a final trial or hearing on the merits
    of a dissolution of marriage proceeding. In 2011, however, the Oregon
    Legislature approved House Bill 2686, which makes dissolution
    proceedings subject to the same 30-day period as any other civil case.  Read More...

  5. Charitable Giving: Common Questions

    Here are answers to some common questions that we regularly receive about charitable giving:  Read More...

  6. State Loan Refinancing Pilot Program for Deschutes County Homeowners

    The Federal Government’s TARP program has provided the State of
    Oregon almost $100 million to fund the Hardest Hit Fund which is
    intended to assist homeowners and avoid foreclosures. The Oregon Housing
    and Community Services agency administers the Hardest Hit Fund
    programs. 

  7. Protecting the Rights of the Elderly

    I am often asked how to protect the rights of elderly persons in
    Oregon. In addition to having the same rights as other people, Oregon
    law provides that elderly persons have some additional protections.  Read More...

  8. Oregon Authorizes Use of Transfer on Death Deeds

    The Oregon Legislature recently passed a new law that allows an owner
    of real property to name a person to receive the property upon the
    owner’s death by signing a Transfer on Death Deed. The deed only becomes
    effective to transfer the property at the owner’s death, so the owner
    will continue to own the property during the owner’s life.  During the
    owner’s lifetime, the owner can change the beneficiary or revoke the
    deed.  The owner remains able to sell the property, in which event the
    Transfer on Death Deed would automatically be revoked as to the property
    that was sold.  For the deed to be effective, it must be designated as a
    Transfer on Death Deed, it must identify a beneficiary by name, and it
    must be recorded in the deed records of the County Clerk in the County
    where the property is located before the owner’s death.  Read More...

  9. Residential Eviction Notices Must Include Specific Date and Time of Termination of Tenancy

    The Oregon Court of Appeals recently issued a ruling that residential
    eviction notices must specify the date and time of the termination of
    the tenancy.  In Greenway v. Parlanti, 245 Or. App. 144, 261
    P.3d 69 (2011), the landlord provided tenant with a 24-hour eviction
    notice after receiving threats of violence from the tenant’s son.  The
    notice indicated that the tenancy would end 24 hours from the time of
    personal service of the notice on the tenant.  The time the notice was
    served was included with the served notice.  After the trial court judge
    found in favor of the landlord, the Oregon Court of Appeals reversed
    finding that the applicable statute (ORS 90.396(1)) requires that the
    specific date and time of the termination of the tenancy be included in
    the notice.  Rather than “24 hours from the time listed below,” the
    landlord needed to specifically identify the termination time on the
    following day.  The court also reasoned that because service of eviction
    notices can be made in a number of ways, including mailing, ruling
    otherwise would, in certain circumstances, force the tenant to guess
    when the termination became effective.  To avoid uncertainty when
    serving residential eviction notices, landlords can identify a specific
    time and date that provides more notice than is required.  For example, a
    72-hour residential eviction notice served at 9am on Tuesday, November
    1, 2011 could indicate a termination date and time of 12:00 pm (noon) on
    Friday, November 4, 2011, despite that the termination time could be a
    little earlier that day. 

  10. Employers: No Retaliation to Oral Complaints

    The federal Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 (29 U.S.C.A. s 201, et.
    seq.) (the “Act”) forbids employers from discharging or otherwise
    discriminating against employees for, among other things, filing a
    complaint against the employer under or related to the Act. 29 U.S.C.A. s
    215(a)(3).  Earlier this year, the U.S. Supreme Court held that Section
    215(a)(3) applies not only to written complaints filed by employees,
    but to oral complaints as well.  Kasten v. Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics Corp.,
    131 S. Ct. 1325 (2011).  Specifically, the Court held that a complaint
    is “filed” when a reasonable, objective person would have understood the
    employee to have put the employer on notice that the employee is
    asserting statutory rights under the Act.  This decision significantly
    expands employees’ ability to file retaliation suits against their
    employers.  Employers must take internal complaints (both oral and
    written) seriously and be prepared to defend decisions to discharge or
    discipline their employees.