Bend Probate Attorneys
Sound Legal Advice for Estate Distribution Matters
At Baxter Harder, LLC, our Bend attorneys can help you through the probate process. If you have been appointed a personal representative (executor) or are a beneficiary of a will, we can help you understand what's entailed and what your rights and responsibilities are. We have over 60 years of combined experience, and we have helped numerous clients effectively handle the process. Our team is here to deliver the sound advice and guidance you need from start to finish.
To learn more about probate and how we can help you, call us at (541) 238-9210 today.
What Is Probate?
Probate is a court process an estate must pass through before a decedent's assets and property are distributed to beneficiaries. Essentially, probate is a way to avoid fraud and ensure the decedent's financial obligations are taken care of.
Probate begins after a person's death. If the person had a will (called "testate"), the court ensures it's valid. It will then appoint a personal representative (PR) to handle various matters concerning the decedent's estate. The PR may either be the individual named in the will or, if the decedent did not have a will (called "intestate"), someone the court assigns to serve in this role. The executor can be a family member (if someone is available and willing to take on the role) or a third party, such as a bank or lawyer.
What Is the Executor's Role?
When a person serves as an executor, their duty is to ensure all of the decedent's financial matters are taken care of. They then distribute assets according to the will or state laws.
The executor must:
- Inventory assets: This requires locating and valuing the decedent's assets.
- Pay debts: The PR will use funds from the estate to pay creditors.
- Prepare state and federal taxes: The PR must ensure taxes are filed.
- Report actions taken concerning the estate: The PR prepares an account of what money has been paid and received by the estate, as well as any other actions they took. They give this account to the beneficiaries, heirs, and the court.
- Distribute assets to beneficiaries and heirs: After all other estate matters are settled, the PR distributes property according to the will or state laws.
Is Probate Always Required?
Depending on the size of the estate, probate can be a lengthy process, lasting a minimum of 4 months. In some cases, it can be avoided.
Situations in which probate may not be required include:
- Joint tenancy: If the decedent had joint property or accounts, they would be transferred to the co-owner.
- Beneficiary: If the decedent had certain accounts, such as retirement, that named a beneficiary, the assets are distributed to them.
- Few assets: If the decedent had only a few assets, the court does not need to get involved for the property to be distributed to beneficiaries.
- Trusts: If the decedent had their property transferred to a trust, the distribution of assets does not have to go through probate.
Oregon also allows for a shortened probate process for "small estates." If the value of personal and real property falls below a specific threshold, the distribution of assets does not have to go through the full probate process, which can save on time and money.
For Legal Help, Call Baxter Harder, LLC
If you have been appointed a personal representative or are an heir or beneficiary going through the probate process, contact our Bend lawyers for skilled guidance. We'll help you navigate the complexities involved.
Over 60+ Years of Combined Experience
Two Experienced Former Deputy District Attorneys at the Firm
Extensive Trial Experience
We Can Handle Complex Cases in Criminal, Civil, & Family Law
Highly Personalized Representation
Free or Low-Cost Consultations
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When you choose our team of experienced lawyers, we will take the time to listen to your needs and remain focused on that as we proceed with your case. We have the knowledge, skills, and resources to provide the quality legal representation you need.