As an estate planning and elder law attorney, I often assist people in the middle of a family crisis which can be stressful. It is much less stressful to make well-reasoned decisions when you are not facing a crisis. Therefore, the best way to plan for your future, reduce stress and be prepared is to…
Probate avoidance is a common goal voiced among estate planning clients. The concern over probate is warranted, given that probate is expensive, confusing, and stressful. Navigating a probate is made even more difficult when undertaken by those who are grieving the loss of a loved one. This article addresses what probate is, a common misconception…
Many people are faced with uncertainty when they have to handle another person’s affairs. My clients often want to know the best way to transfer assets at death. Assets can be transferred in different ways depending on how they are titled. Assets that need to be distributed at death often include real property, vehicles, bank accounts, retirement accounts, life insurance and stocks and bonds. Read More...
Authored by Melissa Lande
I am often asked what people should ask their estate planning attorney to make sure that their estate plan is complete, well prepared and will properly carry out their intentions. The questions that follow should assist you with preparation of your estate plan.
1. I do not have a large estate, why do I need an estate plan? Even if you do not have a significant amount of assets, most people should have a Will or a Trust, Power of Attorney, Advance Directive and Medical Authorization. These documents allow you to designate a person to make medical and financial decisions for you during your lifetime and allow you to plan for distribution of your assets after your death.
2. What happens if I die without a Will or a Trust? If you die without a Will or Trust, your assets will pass to the remaining joint owner(s) or to your designated beneficiaries. If an asset does not have a joint owner or a beneficiary, the asset will be subject to probate. Oregon law provides that if you probate assets without a Will, your assets be transferred to your closest family members or other relatives. However, this can be problematic if you prefer that your spouse or your heirs not receive funds outright. Also, if you are married and have children from a previous marriage, the children are immediately entitled to one-half of your assets if you probate assets without a will. You may prefer to structure your plan differently.
Many people want to know the best way to transfer assets at death. It is important to understand that assets can be transferred in different ways depending on how they are titled. The assets that need to be distributed at death often include real property, vehicles, bank accounts, retirement accounts, life insurance and stocks and bonds. Read More...
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...
Here are answers to some common questions that we regularly receive about charitable giving: Read More...
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...