How does the probate process work in Oregon?

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How does the probate process work in Oregon?

What is probate?

Probate is a legal proceeding that allows the Personal Representative of an estate to collect and distribute assets on a person’s death. It’s also the name of a court process that may be necessary to transfer title to real property (land) or other property to be transferred from one person to another.

What is a probate estate?

A probate estate consists of all the property of a person who died, including real property and personal property.It does not matter if a person died with a will or without a will, all property that goes through probate will be a part of the probate estate.

For example:

  • If your mother owns $100,000 worth of stocks, bonds and CDs that she leaves to you in her will—that’s part of her probate estate.
  • If she owns a house worth $300,000 and does not have a will – the house becomes a part of the probate estate.

What is not part of the probate estate?

Not all assets need to do through probate on a person’s death. For instance, assets with beneficiary designations, assets that are jointly owned with another person, or assets held in trust will not go through probate.

For example:

  • If your father owned a retirement account worth $200,000 and prior to his death he named you as the beneficiary of the account, this account will pass directly to you on your father’s death – accounts with beneficiary designations are not part of the probate estate.
  • If you and your father own a bank account jointly, then on your father’s death you will become the sole owner of the account – accounts with a co-owner will not be part of the probate estate.
  • If prior to his death, your father created a revocable trust and transferred the ownership of his house into the trust, on his death the trustee will be able to sell the house without using the probate process – trust assets are not part of the probate estate.

Overview of the Probate Process in Oregon.

When someone dies, the process of settling their estate can be complicated and expensive. The probate process allows for a person’s assets to be distributed according to their will or, if a person does not have a will, according to state law. The process of administering an estate according to state law is called “intestate succession.”

In Oregon, you must petition the court for authorization to probate your loved one’s estate. Working with an attorney who has experience in estate administration will greatly reduce your stress and will help the administration run smoothly.

Court Filing Fees and Customary Charges.

In Oregon the court charges a filing fee to initiate a probate based on the total value of the probate estate. The current (2022) filing fees ranges from $278 to $1,176 based on the total expected value of estate assets.

In addition to a filing fee to initiate a probate, you should expect the following costs:

  • Depending on the county you live in the court may require you to take a training program though Guardian Partners so that you understand your obligations as Personal Representative. The current cost to attend the class is $150.
  • Notice of the probate will be published in a newspaper of general circulation in the county where the probate is occurring. This price is highly variable based on the newspapers available in the county and can range from around $150 to $500.
  • Attorney’s The amount of attorney fees will depend on the complexity of the case and the attorney’s experience and reputation.
  • For probate estates that are left open for longer than a year, an annual accounting will need to be filed with the court. The current cost for an annual accounting ranges from $35 to $1,176 and is based on the total value of the estate.
  • Most all costs incurred by the Personal Representative in administering an estate will be repaid to the Personal Representative from the funds of the probate

Steps in the Oregon Probate Process.

  • The first step in the Oregon probate process is to get a death certificate and to find the original Last Will and Testament, if there is one.
  • The Personal Representative files a petition with the court, which outlines the general assets of the estate and who the beneficiaries and heirs of the estate are.
  • The Personal Representative must give notice to creditors by publishing a notice in a local newspaper. This notice alerts creditors that they have four months from the date of publication to file claims against the estate. Any creditor who does not file a claim within the appropriate time shall forfeit whatever claims he or she may have against the estate.
  • The Personal Representative must give notice to the heirs and beneficiaries of an estate. The heirs are the direct family members of the person who died. A beneficiary is a person identified in a Will to receive the assets of the estate. Just because a person is an heir does not mean the person is also a beneficiary.
  • After all notices have been sent out and all objections heard, if any were filed, then it is time for distribution! This means sending out letters informing people of what they will receive from the estate and giving them instructions on how to best receive the assets.

The Powers and Responsibilities of Personal Representatives.

The Personal Representative has the power to manage the estate and take any action necessary to carry out their duties. The Personal Representative collects assets, pay debts and taxes, sell assets, distribute property and negotiates with creditors on behalf of the estate.

In addition to these powers, certain responsibilities come with being a Personal Representative:

  • The Personal Representative should maintain accurate records for all transactions conducted related to probate administration. This includes recording all payments received from or paid out by the estate (such as money received from selling property). The purpose of keeping accurate records is so that if there is any question about what happened during probate administration it will be easier for someone reviewing those records to answer those questions.
  • Keep consistent communication with interested parties such as heirs or beneficiaries; this includes informing them about upcoming deadlines so they do not miss out on opportunities granted by law.
  • Respond appropriately when given legal notice regarding actions taken about administering an estate; this could mean taking steps like acknowledging receipt of documents sent by another party involved in administering an estate.
  • Take reasonable steps when managing assets belonging solely under their control before distributing them among beneficiaries after death has occurred (for example: selling belongings at yard sales). This may include making decisions based on prudent financial management principles – such as setting prices low enough so no one makes complaints but high enough so everyone gets money back.

Potential Delays in the Oregon Probate Process.

If the estate is large, or there are potential issues such as competing claims to probate assets, disputes among heirs, or disputes with creditors, it may take longer for a court hearing to be held.

In addition to these factors that can delay the probate process in Oregon, others can speed up the process:

  • If an heir consents to how an asset will be distributed before a petition for distribution is filed; or if all heirs agree to a simplified procedure and sign off on their rights; this will greatly reduce delays in determining who has legal title over an asset.

Individual Probate Courts in Oregon.

The probate court is located in each county, and it’s the same as the county court. It’s not a separate entity from the state courts, federal courts, or other courts. In fact, the probate court handles most of the same types of cases that are heard by other courts in Oregon.

The only difference between a probate case and another court case is that when someone dies and their estate needs to be administered (this includes paying off debts, taxes, and distributing assets), is the department which handles the matter.

Understanding the probate process can help make the process easier and less intimidating for you.

The probate process is a complex and confusing one. It’s important to understand exactly what the probate process entails to make it through this time as smoothly as possible.

Probate can be intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be hard! By getting familiar with the steps involved and working with an experience legal team, you’ll know what your responsibilities are and how best to manage them. Contact Kehoe Moneyhun Law today if you have questions regarding the probate process.


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  • graliontorile

    September 6, 2022 - 4:06 pm

    An interesting discussion is worth comment. I think that you should write more on this topic, it might not be a taboo subject but generally people are not enough to speak on such topics. To the next. Cheers

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