You Should Prepare (Legally) For Your Death
If you’re not a multi-millionaire yet, then the three estate planning documents commonly prepared are a Will, a durable (or general) power of attorney, and an advance directive.
If you are a multi-millionaire, congratulations! You should speak to an attorney that regularly prepares irrevocable trusts so you can minimize estate tax consequences. I am not that lawyer.
Going to Probate Court
Don’t be afraid of probate. Oregon does not have a broken probate process. Most cases resolve within 7-12 months from filing. And the cost of a probate can be less expensive than the cost of creating a living trust, and then closing the trust after your (and your spouse’s) death. A court-supervised process to transfer your assets to your beneficiaries better ensures that the promises in your Will are followed.
Are you the person with responsibility to handle a family or friend's property? Schedule an appointment.
ESTATE PLAN DOCUMENTS
A Will transfers probate property to the beneficiaries named in your Will, and it must comply with state law. If you die without a Will, then state law determines who inherits your probate assets.
A Will does not avoid probate. A living trust (also called a revocable trust) can avoid probate if (a) it’s done properly (b) what would be probate assets are titled in the name of the trust, and (c) the person in charge of the trust (“trustee”) follows Oregon’s Uniform Trust Code. Avoiding probate is for people who want to minimize public scrutiny of their wealth.
Need a Will? Then schedule an appointment right away. I charge $600 for a Will ($800 for a married couple). We will first discuss your assets and debts, and what probate property is and isn’t. I then prepare your Will based on the information you give me. Once the Will is done, you will sign it in the presence of two witnesses.
POWER OF ATTORNEY (POA)
A power of attorney is a document that allows someone you trust (your “agent” or “attorney-in-fact") to make financial decisions on your behalf. The agent’s scope of authority can be as broad or narrow as you desire. It can be used immediately or in the future once a stated condition is met. The agent’s authority ends when you revoke it, or the POA expires, or you die.
An Advance Directive permits you to determine your end-of-life treatment options (such as a feeding tube or breathing machine). You can also appoint a trusted person to be your “health care representative” who can make medical decisions on your behalf if you are unable to do it. There is no mystery to an Advance Directive. Oregon has a specific form that must be used. I can provide you the form.