Probate is the legal process that one must take after a family member, or loved one’s death.  This process is required in order to distribute any assets that are held in the name of the deceased person that do not pass by substitute means.  If the deceased person left a valid Will, that Will directs the distribution of their assets through the probate process.  If the deceased person did not leave a valid Will, the “intestacy” laws of the State of Oregon direct who receives the property of the deceased person.   Since this is a difficult time, any preparation of documents that can be done before meeting with an attorney to begin the probate process will be beneficial.

Probate Documents to Gather

Depending on varying factors, being able to supply most of these documents will help you during your meeting with an attorney prior to initiating a probate proceeding.

  • Death certificate (short form)
  • Will, Trusts, or any estate planning documents
  • Beneficiary designation documents
  • Pre-nuptial or Post-nuptial agreements
  • Heirs and beneficiaries contact information
  • Recent federal and state income tax returns
  • Life insurance policies
  • Real estate deeds
  • Vehicle titles
  • Any outstanding loans
  • Ongoing bills and known creditor information
  • Medical & funeral expenses
  • Financial account information
  • Stock, bond or deposit certificates

Probate To-Do List

Probate can often be a lengthy proceeding during a difficult time (on average 18 months in Deschutes County).  To help make this process easier, you can be prepared by going through this simple probate checklist:

  • Obtain death certificates
  • Locate the original Will of the deceased
  • Identify an attorney to help you through the probate proceeding and be prepared to provide a retainer to cover out of pocket costs (filing and publication fees)
  • Once a probate petition is filed and the Court has appointed a Personal Representative, the Personal Representative must:
    • Notify beneficiaries and creditors of the death of the deceased
    • Notify the State of Oregon of the death of the deceased
    • Publish notice in a newspaper of general circulation of the death of the deceased ad of the 4-month window in which to file creditor claims
    • Approve or deny any creditor claims for unpaid debts
    • Prepare and file with the Court an inventory of all probate assets of the deceased
    • Forward mail to the address of the person who is serving as Personal Representative (Executor) of the probate estate
    • Pay any recurring property taxes  and file income taxes and estate tax returns that are due
    • File an affidavit of search for creditor claims
    • File annual accountings and a final accounting
    • Determine if the Personal Representative is going to take a fee for serving as Personal Representative
    • Request permission from the Court to distribute the contents of the probate estate
    • Distribute the inheritance from the estate once the Court has given permission to do so
    • Submit any asset and debt receipts & records to the Personal Representative  for reimbursement, pay attorney fees and costs, obtain and file distribution receipts from the beneficiaries and request an Order from the Court to close the probate estate

De Alicante Law Group understands that this can be a difficult process for everyone involved.  Please go through this basic Oregon probate checklist so that you can obtain a better understanding of the process to help make the process easier for you and your family.  If you need any assistance or help, we are available to help you represent you as your probate lawyer through the process.