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Bend Estate Planning FAQ

Answering Common Questions About Estate Planning

If you’re considering developing an estate plan, you might have many questions about what’s involved. Our Bend lawyers at Baxter Harder, LLC are here to help you understand the process and have provided answers to common questions. Read below to learn more.

If you have additional questions or are ready to get started with your estate plan, call our Oregon estate planning lawyers at (541) 238-9210 or contact us online.

What’s the difference between a will and a trust?

Wills and trusts both allow you to manage your property and how it’s distributed after your death. However, a few distinctions between the two exist. One is when the document goes into effect. Your wishes listed in your will are not carried out until after your death. On the other hand, the terms of a trust are effective after the document is finalized. As such, in your trust, you can provide directives for what type of care you receive (if any) if you become incapacitated or disabled.

There are some things a will allows you to do that you can’t do with a trust. For instance, you can name a guardian for your minor children in a will but can’t do so with a trust.

What is a revocable living trust?

A revocable living trust is in effect during your lifetime. The term ‘revocable’ means that your directives are changeable. If you decide you want specific provisions to be different, you can modify them at any time.

What is trust administration?

When you develop a trust, you appoint someone to be your successor trustee. This is the person who manages the provisions of your trust after your passing. Trust administration is the process the successor trustee must proceed through to ensure your estate is handled as you directed. The successor trustee has a duty to ensure that they are acting in good faith and that the trust is administered carefully and skillfully.

What happens if I die without a will?

If you don’t have a will in place at the time of your death, that’s called intestate. In this type of situation, the state’s laws take over and decide how your property will be distributed to your surviving family members. Unfortunately, the laws do not go by your wishes, which could create conflict between family members. You can override the state’s laws by developing a will that specifically expresses how you want your property divided after your death.

What is probate, and how can it be avoided?

Probate is the legal process your will must go through before your wishes can be carried out. An executor will be appointed to distribute your assets and property. In some cases, probate can be a lengthy process.

You can avoid having your property distribution go through probate by creating a trust and funding your property into it. However, if you’re thinking of having your family avoid probate, it’s best to discuss your situation with a skilled lawyer to determine whether you should create a will, trust, or both.

Will my out-of-state estate plan be honored in Oregon?

If you legally created a will in another state and recently moved to Oregon, it will be valid here. It’s recommended that you have the document reviewed by an Oregon estate planning attorney to ensure the language complies with state laws.

How are guardianships and conservatorships different?

Although guardianships and conservatorships are in place to appoint someone to make decisions for you should you become unable to do so, they are different. A guardian would manage your health care needs, whereas a conservator would be in charge of your finances.

What’s a power of attorney, and how do you choose an agent?

A power of attorney is a person you appoint to act on your behalf. They can have temporary or permanent authority, and can only carry out actions you’ve specified in your document. You can choose anyone to be your power of attorney as long as they are not a minor. It’s best to select someone you trust to act prudently and with integrity.

Where can I go for more information?

If you want more information about estate planning or want to start developing your will or trust, reach out to our Oregon estate planning attorneys today. Our team has extensive experience and can provide skilled legal advice and guidance for your specific situation.

Call Baxter Harder, LLC at (541) 238-9210 or contact us online today.

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