Estate Planning

An estate plan is the combination of several tools to protect your assets upon your passing and increase the assets intended for your beneficiaries.  Typically we draft wills and trusts to help meet the needs of people as they plan their estate. We will help you prepare for the distribution and management of your estate through the creation of wills, trusts, gifts, property transfers and insurance policies.

There are obviously many options to consider when determining how best to plan for your estate. We’ll use our experience to help you decide what works best for your individual situation.  In additional to the ubiquitous Simple Will, we will discuss your situation and discuss the need for an Advanced Health Care Directive (you may know it as a health care power of attorney) and the Durable Power of Attorney.    If you have Minor Children we will discuss the need for caring for them and how to structure for their care and guardianship.

We will also discuss if the popular Revocable Living Trust would be appropriate to serve your desires in life and in death.  A trust may help you avoid probate and can be used to supplement your will.  You will be able can also set aside specific assets for specific people.

Unfortunately, if you wait too long to create a will or failing to update an existing estate plan can lead to complicated legal and financial issues for your family after you’ve passed.  If this happens, Oregon law typically requires that your assets are transferred to specific individuals, regardless of whatever intentions you expressed while living. Even if your intentions were verbally expressed, it is better to have written documents precisely describing your wishes. Wills allow individuals to make their estate plans formally known after they pass and are binding legal documents. So whether you want to draft a new will or update an existing will, we can help.

In many situations, it is important to have an attorney draft your will so your intentions are clearly stated in proper terminology and not open to interpretation or subject to an outcome you did not intend.

Probate Administration

If you are the executor or personal representative for a will, it is your responsibility to execute the directives and wishes outlined in the will.  I represent personal representatives and trustees to manage the assets of estates after the death of a loved one. Probate procedures are governed by Oregon state law and is meant to collect the decedent’s property, pay any outstanding debts or taxes, and finally distribute the remaining property accordingly.

Because the probate process can be complicated, it can be beneficial to have experienced legal representation by your side. Depending on the size and complexity of the estate, having a lawyer to help you through the process can protect you from personal liability if mistakes are made.

I would be honored to walk you through the steps of probate.