Most people have a general concept of a will. This formal document names the beneficiaries of your assets and appoints a personal representative to distribute those assets and otherwise wrap up your affairs under the close supervision of the probate court. If you die without a will in place, your property will pass via the pre-determined “intestate succession” rules under Oregon law. If you want to control the disposition of your own assets, rather than the de facto plan, you will need to have at least a will in place.
If you have minor children, a will is an excellent vehicle to ensure your wishes are known with respect to the care of your children. In the will, you nominate individuals you want to serve as guardians for your children. If desired, you can also note individuals who you feel should not serve as the guardians of your children. By outlining these preferences ahead of time, you are ensuring your voice is heard.
The will also contains provisions providing that any minor children receive their inheritance in trust with a named trustee. This eliminates the need for a conservatorship to handle the assets you leave for minor children. Without such language, another court process is required to manage minor children’s assets. As you can imagine, it is not desirable to have two separate court proceedings, particularly given the cost.
Julia helps provide guidance as to strategies to minimize the need for court involvement and to ensure the smooth transition of clients’ estates.