If you have family and loved ones who you want to inherit any of your belongings or assets when you die, or you have a large estate that you wish to be managed well, a last will and testament is a good way to ensure that things go as you would have wished after your passing. You may be wondering what Oregon state law says about what happens to your estate if there is no will involved, or if your will is considered invalid for any reason.

The probate process

 The Oregon State Bar Association provides a brief guide to the probate process. Anyone’s estate of substantial value will go through the probate process after the owner’s passing, as this is simply the court’s means of accounting for things and ensuring they are distributed properly. If you only have very few personal possessions, they can usually be distributed without the aid of the court.

All debts you owed will be paid before the estate can be distributed to any rightful or named beneficiaries, whether you have a will or not. This also goes for estate taxes and outstanding federal tax returns. If you do not have a will, then your estate will be divided among your rightful heirs.

When you write a will, you name a personal representative to lead the division of your estate. In lieu of a will, the court will select this representative from among your family, or will choose a lawyer or bank if none of your close circle is available.

This article is intended to inform you of the probate process and should not be viewed as legal advice.