If a person died intestate in Oregon, which means dying without leaving a will, assets are distributed according to Oregon law. Individuals inherit under what is referred to as Intestate Succession and no matter how much evidence may be available to indicate the intentions of the decedent, without a will, the law must be followed.
Role of the Probate Court
The process begins when someone petitions the court to be the executor and admit the intestate estate to probate. The court will send out notices to those who may be interested to see if someone objects by saying something like, “That person is not trustworthy. I should be the one to administer the estate.” Certain persons are ineligible for serving as executor based on prior criminal convictions or other disqualifying factors. The court will ultimately decide who will have the responsibilities of the personal representative (executor).
The executor must be bonded up to the value of the estate, or in certain instances the court will agree to restrict the assets in lieu of requiring a bond. The executor then proceeds with administering the estate and will ultimately distribute the estate according to the law of Intestate Succession found in the Oregon Statutes.
Overview of Intestate Succession
Oregon laws are quite specific about how assets are distributed when there is no will. An overview of the process begins with a surviving spouse who receives the entire estate even if the spouse and decedent shared children together. If there are children from a previous marriage. Then, generally the spouse inherits half, and the child or children who have a parent who is not the surviving spouse inherit the other half.
The process continues with provisions for children, parents, siblings, cousins, etc. all of whom may be heirs to a share of the estate depending on their relationship to the decedent and whether or not there are heirs that are living that are above them in the line of succession.
If there is no surviving spouse, first and foremost, the estate will pass to the decedent’s children and grandchildren. This means that even if a decedent had a child and had been estranged from that child for 30 years, the estate would still go to that child if the decedent died with no will and no living spouse.
This is true even if there is strong evidence the decedent intended to leave the estate to a brother, parent, aunt, uncle, anyone else. With no will, the child is the one who inherits according to the terms established by law.
If your loved one died without a will, contact a probate attorney at Posey Legal, P.C., for information and assistance.