Probate Attorneys in Albany, Oregon
The loss of a loved one can be overwhelming and profoundly painful. When someone in your family dies, often some or all of their assets will have to go through probate before they can be distributed to the heirs or devisees. If probate is required, the surviving family members and the person appointed as the personal representative need to understand what the probate process entails.
The probate attorneys at Felling & Reid, LLC know that probate can be both stressful and confusing, especially when you have to cope with a death in the family. We understand this is a difficult and emotional time for everyone involved. With an office in Albany, Oregon, we help clients navigate the probate process throughout Benton, Lincoln, Polk, Linn, and Marion counties.
What Is Probate?
Probate is a court-supervised proceeding used to transfer a deceased person’sproperty to the heirs or devisees. When a deceased person has left a will, the probate process is required to ensure that the wishes of the deceased person are honored. Additionally, the probate process will ensure that all applicable obligations and fiduciary duties are fulfilled.
Typically, probate is required for assets owned solely in the name of the deceased person. These may include:
Personal possessions (household items, jewelry, collections, etc.)
However, many assets do not have to go through probate. These may include retirement accounts, property held in living trusts, life insurance proceeds, funds in payable-on-death accounts, and many others. The probate process involves many legal nuances and paperwork, which is why you may need an experienced attorney on your side to help you through the process.
Probate in Oregon
Under Oregon law, smaller estates may be able to circumvent probate with an “abbreviated procedure” instead of full probate.
According to the Oregon Revised Statutes, the simplified probate procedure can be used if the estate meets the following criteria:
The probate personal property does not exceed $75,000 in value;
The probate real property does not exceed $200,000 in value; and
The total aggregate value of the probate estate is no more than $275,000.
If an estate qualifies for the abbreviated procedure, the expenses and time associated with distributing the assets to heirs or devisees can be significantly reduced. While probate can be challenging, it does not have to be confusing. Our probate attorneys in Albany, Oregon – Timothy Felling and Tyler Reid – can explain the steps involved and assist you with all aspects of probate administration.
The Probate Process
The probate process includes the following steps:
Filing a Petition for Appointment of Personal Representative. Probate begins with a request to appoint a personal representative and, in matters where the deceased person left a will, submitting the will to the probate court. The probate court will review the petition and, if applicable, the will to ensure that the document is authentic and valid.
Appointment of the personal representative. The probate court will then appoint a personal representative. If the decedent died with a will and the document includes the name of the personal representative, the court will appoint the personal representative nominated in the will. However, if there is no will, the probate court will choose the person who would serve as the personal representative. Typically, though not always, courts appoint either the surviving spouse or an adult child.
Notifying heirs or devisees and other interested parties. The personal representative must send notifications to all heirs and/or devisees and known interested parties as part of the probate process. The personal representative must also publish a legal notice in a local newspaper to make sure that unknown interested parties are notified.
Inventory of the estate. The personal representative must conduct an inventory of the decedent’s estate and file a formal inventory with the court within 90 days of appointment.
Claims against the estate. Creditors can file claims against the estate within 30 days after the reception of the notice (discussed in step three). Those who did not receive a direct notification can file claims against the estate within four months after the newspaper publication of the legal notice.
Tax returns and taxes. The next step is to file tax returns and pay all applicable taxes (without this step, the estate cannot be closed).
Approval of final accounts. The probate court must approve the final accounts provided by the personal representative.
Distribution of the assets. Finally, the remaining assets in the estate can be distributed to heirs and other interested parties.
At Felling & Reid, LLC, our probate attorneys can assist you with creating an estate plan that helps your loved ones ease or avoid probate. We can also provide legal guidance at every step of the probate process if you were appointed as a personal representative or need help with the petition for appointment. Our decades of combined experience in probate law can make the entire process simple.
Probate Attorneys Serving Albany, Oregon
While probate can seem confusing and overwhelming, you need to know what the process entails to make it through the process with relative ease. At Felling & Reid, LLC, we can help you and your family navigate the probate process in Oregon, allowing you to focus on other things in your life. Contact our office in Albany, Oregon, to discuss your situation with Timothy Felling and Tyler Reid.