Barbur Law Law Blog
Thoughts on estate planning and other subjects from our Milwaukie and Tillamook law offices
Season’s Greetings from Barbur Law!
As 2023 comes to a close, we are taking a moment to reflect on the many things that happened this year and to share some of our favorite moments with clients and friends we hold dear. First, we want to express our deepest gratitude for being with us on this journey around the sun – from entrusting us with your estate planning needs, to volunteering beside us in the community, to early-morning networking over coffee, we appreciate you!
More recent posts:
New Laws for Oregon Estates in 2024
We regularly hear about ineffective government in our daily lives. However, while bad politics make for good headlines, it is important to note that much goes on in government that is not captured in the news cycle. That is true even of the Oregon State Legislature, which took it upon itself to pass several important new state laws affecting probate and estate administration. In my view, these new laws are all reasonable, necessary, and possibly even well-written. Who knew? In any case, here are synopses of the most important new laws:
The Role and Duties of a Personal Representative
One of the main purposes of preparing a Will is to nominate a personal representative, who is the person trusted to handle the testator’s estate. If a family member or friend has let you know that they have nominated you as their personal representative in their Will, you may be wondering what the role of personal representative entails.
Having been nominated in someone’s Will is the first step to becoming a personal representative; however, one is not formally in that position until they have been appointed by the probate court. If a loved one has passed away and you are their personal representative, your first step should be to contact a knowledgeable probate attorney. Your attorney will help you identify the correct estate process to initiate. If a full probate estate is the appropriate course of action, your attorney will then help you to become appointed as personal representative through the probate court.
Probate: The Good, The Bad and The (Not So) Ugly
A few months ago, I blogged about Estate Administration in which I touched on a number of methods in which a deceased person’s property can be transferred to the rightful recipients – trust administration, transfer-on-death beneficiaries, and, of course, the dreaded “probate.” The conjuring of the term “probate” is enough to make most people scream and run in terror. Frankly, I am not sure if there is a term in the legal world that has a more negative stereotype (even among attorneys). This is quite a feat! While probate can be intimidating, a bit annoying, possibly cumbersome, and even potentially a real drag, it is probably not worthy of its lofty status as the monster-under-the-bed of the legal world.
Guardianships and Conservatorships
If you have a loved one who can no longer make decisions on his or her own behalf, then your loved one may need a Guardianship and/or Conservatorship if he or she has not planned ahead. The terms Guardianship and Conservatorship are often confused and thought to be interchangeable, but they are different. A Guardianship covers the authority over healthcare and personal matters and a Conservatorship covers the authority over finances and assets. It is not uncommon to petition the court to appoint both a Guardian and a Conservator in the same proceeding.
Estate Administration: The Other Side
We commonly talk about Estate Planning, which includes well-known documents such as Wills and Trusts. However, preparing an Estate Plan is only half of the process. Once the preparer dies there is a need for the other half: Estate Administration. This is a foreign term to most people, which is not necessarily a bad thing. Essentially, Estate Administration is the process of transferring the assets (“estate”) of a deceased person to the persons entitled to receive them.
Special Needs Trust – One Option to Help Care for a Loved One with a Disability
If you have been providing for a loved one with a disability, you’ve no doubt spent countless hours thinking about what will happen when you’re no longer able to give that care. Oftentimes, loved ones with a disability rely on various forms of public assistance, such as Social Security Disability Income, SSI, Medicare, low-income housing, and other programs, to meet their basic needs. Eligibility for some public programs, such as Medicare and Social Security Disability Income, is based on the person meeting certain “status” criteria, such as age or disability. Other public programs, such as SSI and Medicaid, offer “needs-based” benefits that also require specific limits on assets and income.
Splitting Trusts: How Married People Can Utilize Trusts to Save on Estate Tax
A revocable living trust is an estate planning tool that is valuable for many reasons. This blog explains how a revocable living trust created by a married couple can provide estate tax savings when utilized for this purpose.