Everything You Need to Know About the Last Will and Testament in Oregon
As long as you are 18 years or older, the state of Oregon will let you execute a will, and the state will validate the will as long as it meets the requirements of code section 112.225, et seq.
While the creation of a will is not a mandatory legal requirement, we recommend creating a last will: the document that will highlight your wishes regarding your estate upon your demise. Basically, a last will is a declaration of your wishes. It could be simple or complex and you can change the contents of the will or even revoke it later as per the set requirements and conditions.
Wondering what happens if you don’t have a last will and testament by the time you die? The state will invoke the strict intestacy laws. Unfortunately, your spoken wishes will not matter, and the legal system will act in the best way they know how, not according to your values. To be exact, here are the possible outcomes when the intestacy laws are in effect.
The surviving spouse inherits your entire estate even when you have shared kids. But the surviving spouse will only inherit half of the estate if you, the testator had kids from a different relationship. And in the absence of a surviving spouse, children, or parents, the state awards siblings and grandparents the estate.
Roles of a last will and testament
- If you are wondering how much you may have to pay an estate planning lawyer to create a will, pause: we have even better news. You can create a will without paying anything by downloading a free Oregon last will and testament form. The form guides you through the requirements of a will. As long as you enter all the relevant details in the will, then it will easily get validation from the probate court.
- Protection of your loved ones
- While the primary role of creating a free last will and testament in Oregon appears to be to distribute wealth, protection of your loved one is the driving force behind creating wills. That said; you could use the will to create a testamentary trust for your children or even pet (pet trust). Pet trusts expire upon the death of the named animal.
- You could also use the will to name the guardian for your minor children should you pass away before your kids are legally recognized as adults. The adult could also manage the inheritance you leave your children.
- By distributing your property to your loved ones, including friends, you lessen their anguish because they will least likely get into feuds over your estate. You could take things up a notch by indicating your plans for keeping the business in the family for as long as possible.
- Another important role of your last will – the division of assets and granting of bequeaths. After naming your beneficiaries, it is important to indicate what every beneficiary get from the estate. You could indicate the inheritance in dollar value, percentages, or you could specify what they are getting.
- After the executor pays off any due debts, bills, and taxes, they will distribute the estate as per your direction. It is, therefore, important to things real.
The trusts created by wills cut across the two roles above. If you are worried about issues like asset distribution in blended families or different marriages, then you will need to indicate your wishes in the will – a complex will. Some of the trusts created include the dynasty trusts to keep the assets in the family, disclaimer trust to protect your assets for your spouse, or an education trust to accumulate your assets. With a credit shelter trust, tax planning issues for your large estate are taken care of.
Besides creating trusts, the right last will and testament document will spell out your business succession plans.
Basically, the last will makes sure no one ignores your wishes. And you could name anyone as a beneficiary.
What makes a will valid?
The creator should be at least 18 years old or legally married, they should be of sound mind and acting out of their own volition, and they must sign the will. Signing should be in the presence of 2 adult witnesses who affirm that they saw the testator sign the will or acknowledge the signing of the will. Acknowledgment is crucial when a testator is unable to sign they will, and they ask another person to sign the will in their presence and as per their directions.
The list of beneficiaries is important, and the will must be in writing.
What happens to the will upon your passing?
The person you appoint as your personal representative (executor) will file the will with the probate court. The probate court refers to the court-supervised process necessary for the distribution of the assets of the deceased. Once probate approves the will, the executor will oversee the administration of the estate. Administrative roles include taking an inventory of the deceased assets, paying off debts and taxes, and finally distribution of the property.
For estates valued at less than $275,000 (real property worth less than $200,000 and personal property not worth more than $75,000), the state adopts a simpler probate process.
Changing a will
You could change your will using a codicil; an amendment of the will to be executed in the same manner as the original will.
Revoking a will
You can revoke a will at any time by executing a subsequent will or by destroying the will with the intention to revoke its declaration. Regarding the latter, you could ask someone else to destroy the will on your behalf as long as they do that in your presence and as asked.
Are you ready to create a will but are unsure of where to start? Get our free last will and testament forms online in Salem, Bend, Portland, Medford, Eugene, or any other city of Oregon.