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Mastanduno Law Group Sept. 29, 2020

Probate Governs Distribution of Estate Assets

Property is not automatically passed on to heirs after the reading of the will. Estates must also undergo probate. Oregon law govern this process where a court reviews a deceased person’s assets, validates their will and decides their beneficiaries.

Probate assets

Assets that undergo probate are typically owned individually or left behind without a designated beneficiary. These include single-owned property, personal property and vehicles. Household items that undergo probate usually include art and collectibles, jewelry, weapons, and furniture. Bank, brokerage, and investment accounts generally go through probate.


The court must first determine whether the deceased person had a will or other document setting forth who would inherit their assets. If these document do not exist, the court will establish the validity of assets. Time is afforded to any heirs to seek unclaimed property.

Next, every asset left by the decedent must be located. After this is accomplished, the court will calculate each asset’s value at the time the person died. If there are any creditors, the court will assure that the assets are evenly divided.

Creditors and beneficiaries must be located to determine who can claim the deceased’s assets and whether there are any unpaid debts. All the deceased person’s debts must be paid before beneficiaries can receive any assets.

Also, any taxes must be paid. It may be necessary to file certain tax returns.

The estate’s assets may be distributed in accordance with the will after all these expenses, debts and legal fees are paid. Last, the estate should be closed after the assets are properly distributed and no one contests the will.


People preparing their will should carefully consider their selection of an executor or administrator. Potential executors should learn about their duties and this process instead of receiving this information during a time of grief and turmoil.

An attorney can help prepare your will and other important estate documents. Executors and administrators may also seek legal assistance to help them perform their duties.


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