What is Probate?

Probate is the court supervised process of distributing the assets of your estate to your heirs or beneficiaries. In Oregon, if you die owning assets your estate is subject to probate except those whose assets amount to less than $75,000 of personal property and/or less than $200,000 in real property can file a small estates affidavit in lieu of a formal probate proceeding.

Why do I hear so much about avoiding probate?

The simple answer is time and money. Probate is a lengthy and sometimes needlessly expensive process. The Probate process has a minimum waiting period before assets can be distributed and often probate cases take up to a year or more to resolve. Additionally, the personal representative of your estate (your executor) must be represented by an attorney. Therefore, attorney fees will be paid from your estate before your beneficiaries receive any inheritance. Its all your money, why not leave it to loved ones instead of the lawyers?

If I have a will, won’t my estate avoid probate?

No. Think of your will as your ticket to probate court. A will based estate plan will require probate when the total fair market value of your assets amount to more than $75,000 of personal property and/or more than $200,000 in real property.