Creating an Oregon Will is an important step in planning the distribution of your estate (assets including real and personal property) following your death. Oregon wills allow for any children, your spouse, other family members, and pets to be provided for after your death. LegalZoom works with the testator (or the person making the will) in creating valid Oregon wills and in assigning a person (called the executor in most states) to administer an Oregon last will and testament after the death of the testator.
Basic Requirements for: Oregon Last Will and Testament:
Age: The testator must be at least 18 years of age or married.
Capacity: The testator must be of sound (capable of reasoning and making decisions) mind.
Signature: The testator, in the presence of each of the witnesses, must sign an Oregon last will and testament or direct a witness or another person to sign the will in the name of the testator.
Witnesses: An Oregon last will and testament must be signed by signed by at least two witnesses, each of whom saw the testator sign the will or acknowledge the signature on the will.
Writing: An Oregon last will and testament must be in writing to be valid.
Beneficiaries: A will may make a disposition of property to any person.
Distribution of Property:
A will is a legal document created by you to determine how your property, known as your estate, is distributed after your death. Your estate consists of assets and property including bank accounts, homes, land, furniture, automobiles, and securities (stocks and bonds). In general, Oregon laws allow you to dispose of your property as you wish.
Other Functions of Wills:
Our Oregon wills form may be used to designate a guardian for any minor children.
Our Oregon wills form may also be used to name an executor (also called a personal representative or administrator) to handle a testator's property and affairs from the time of death until the estate is settled.
Our Oregon wills form may pass on property to a charity.
Notable exceptions to the ability to distribute property:
Property owned in joint tenancy with a right of survivorship automatically passes onto the surviving owner.
A beneficiary in a life insurance policy may not be changed through a will.
Providing for Pets
Under applicable Oregon laws, a trust designating a caretaker for a pet after the owner's death is valid. The testator would have to create a testamentary addition to the will (known as a pour over will) that would devise the pet to a trustee. Legalzoom's Oregon wills form gives you the choice of providing for your pets in this manner.
Changing and Revoking
Changing a Will
An Oregon will and testament may be changed whenever the testator desires.
An Oregon will and testament can be changed through a codicil, which is a document stating additions or changes to the original will. Codicils must be executed in accordance with Oregon probate laws.
Revoking a Will
An Oregon will and testament or a part of a will and testament may be revoked or altered by another will. A will may be revoked by being burned, torn, canceled, obliterated or destroyed, with the intent and purpose of the testator of revoking the will, by the testator, or by another person at the direction of the testator and in the presence of the testator. The injury or destruction by a person other than the testator at the direction and in the presence of the testator shall be proved by at least two witnesses.
Probate and Estate Taxes
After the testator has died, probate procedures prove the validity of the Oregon last will, pay off debts and taxes of the estate, appoint a personal representative to administrate the will, and distribute property as designated in the Oregon last will.
As of November 2003, Oregon has enacted an inheritance tax law that would in effect require state inheritance taxes even when Federal estate taxes are not due. In the past, the Oregon inheritance tax was tied to the Federal system. The taxes owed on your estate from probate of your Oregon last will are determined using these guidelines.
It is extremely important to make an Oregon will if you want to control the distribution of your estate. If you die without a valid will, you are said to have died "intestate" and your property will be distributed according to strict Oregon laws.
For example, your spouse will receive the entire estate if you have no surviving parents, siblings, or children. If you leave no surviving spouse, but leave children, then your children will share the estate.
If you make an Oregon will, your valid will prevents the laws of intestacy from deciding the distribution of your estate.