Probate is the most common form of administration after death. To most clients, probate is a mysterious term; they do not know what it means. Probate is the court-supervised procedure for settling the decedent’s liabilities, determining who is entitled to the decedent’s property, and making the transfers. Mechanically speaking, probate is effectuated through approximately nine filings with the court over a period ranging from six months to two years. Without any contested litigation, an estate in Oregon can be administerred in Probate Court in the following manner:
1. Appointment of the Personal Representative. The Executor of the Will or any interested party may petition the Court for the appointment of a Personal Representative and the probate of the will.
2. Proving the Will. This is the process of the convincing the Court that the will at issue is authentic and valid.
3. Notification of Heirs. The Personal Representative is responsible for filing with the Court a list of names of potential heirs and interested parties and then notifying those individuals. The Personal Representative has 30 days after appointment to file proof with the Court that these people were notified.
4. Inventory and Assessment of the Estate. Within 60 days of appointment, the personal Representative must file an Inventory and Estimates of cash value for the property of the estate with the Court.
5. Notification of Unknown Interested Parties. Legal Notice must be published in a local newspaper for three consecutive weeks.
6. Filing of Claims Against the Estate. Creditor have 30 days after notice is mailed to them to file a claim against the estate stating that they are owed money. Otherwise, other claims against the estate must be filed four months after the publication in the newspaper. Those claims which were not filed on time could potentially be barred.
7. Filing of Tax Returns and Payments of Any Taxes. The Personal Representative must arrange the filing of the decedent's tax returns for that year and pay any balances to the IRS.
8. Filing for Approval of Final Accounts. An Accounting must be made to the Court prior to the distribution of the assets of the estate to the heirs.
9. Final Court Approval. Lastly, the assets and personal property are distributed to the heirs and interested parties in the manner set forth in the validated will.
Although the process above may seem straightforward, it is a time sensitive process and requires following strict court procedure. If you are probating an estate, we can help. We encourage you to call our office at (541) 632-4313. You can also reach out to us here and we can send you information to get organized prior to us meeting.