Experienced And Knowledgeable Guidance Through Probate
Probate is the legal process of gathering a deceased person’s assets, paying taxes due and creditors, and distributing the remaining assets to benefactors according to instructions left in a will. If there is no will, the assets will be distributed according to Oregon’s laws of intestate succession. Probate is commonly referred to as estate administration.
If there is will, it names a trusted person to serve as the personal representative. It is the duty of the personal representative to preserve, settle and distribute the assets of the estate in accordance with directions left in the will. In this capacity, the personal representative acts as a fiduciary. That is, the personal representative is legally required to act with honesty, integrity, good faith, fairness and loyalty.
Failure to navigate the probate process correctly may result in challenges to the will. A personal representative may be held liable even if his or her actions are unintentional. At Christopher D. Mecca, Attorney at Law, we represent personal representatives in probate, ensuring the instructions are properly followed and that only those assets that must pass through probate do so.
Complex Estates Can Be Challenging
Typically, the more complex the estate holdings, the more complex the probate process will be. Attorney Mecca’s 40-plus years of experience in estate planning law means he has seen about everything there is to see in terms of estates and the probate process. Having Christopher’s knowledge and experience in your corner is reassuring.
In many cases, a decedent will have a number of assets that do not have to pass through probate. Many of these nonprobate assets pass directly to a spouse through rights of survivorship. Examples include jointly owned real estate, bank accounts and retirement accounts with designated beneficiaries. In other instances, assets may have been placed in a trust with the intent of bypassing probate. Most individuals own both probate and nonprobate assets, which is a significant reason to work with an experienced attorney who can delineate between the two.
Facts About Probate
Probate in Oregon takes a minimum of four months. It can require much more time than that if the estate includes real estate or other assets that must be sold in accordance with the will.
Oregon allows small estates — ones with less than $75,000 in personal property and less than $200,000 in real property (real estate) — to go through an abbreviated procedure. This is done by filing a small estate affidavit.
Costs for probate include court filing fees and legal notices that must be published. A personal representative may receive a fixed percentage of the value of the estate for performing those services, and a request can be made to cover attorney fees with assets from the estate.
We Are Ready To Assist You With Probate
Serving as a personal representative in the probate process means handling important responsibilities. We offer highly personalized legal counsel that is aimed at completing the probate process efficiently and cost-effectively.
We welcome the opportunity to review your situation and recommend a course of action. Call 541-787-4293 or use our online contact form to schedule a consultation. We serve clients throughout Josephine County and surrounding counties in southwest Oregon.