Plan Ahead and Protect Yourself and Your Family. 

In the absence of an Estate Plan the Government creates one for you:  Probate.

In the absence of an Estate Plan the Government creates one for you: Probate.

What is Estate Planning?

Estate Planning is not primarily about taxes or what assets to pass.  Estate Planning is fundamentally about dealing with death and incapacity.  It is about protecting families and about what families may become.  

Comprehensive Estate Planning provides for the administration of your estate after your death and for decision making if you become disabled.  There are many different ways to protect your family; plan for incapacity; and, to minimize taxation. 

Focusing on your goals and your family’s needs, we build an Estate Plan that works best for your circumstances and for your budget.  

A will does not avoid probate

A common misconception is that if you have a Will, you won't have to probate an estate.  The Probate Process in Oregon requires that a Will be submitted to the Court and proven valid.  There are options for quicker administration of Small Estates but to eliminate probate and to take control of estate you need to use other Estate Planning tools.

Estate Planning tools

Trusts are the most common tool used in Estate Planning but it doesn't necessarily mean it is the best option.  The costs of creating and administering a trust should be considered and compared to the cost of probate. 

Proper Titling of Assets can go a long way in avoiding probate.  For example, making sure your spouse is on the title of your home will prevent the house from needing to be probated if you die.  Payable-on-Death designation for accounts and Transfer-on-Death deeds  for real estate.  While both of these are low-cost options, they can have unintended tax and other consequences.

Gifts and other inter vivos transfers are another common tool used.  There are tax consequences to gifts but more commonly are the family fights that arise when Parents aren't clear about the nature of the gifts.  Also, don't give away property that you will need to survive in old age.

Most importantly, talk to your family about what you want to happen and then contact a professional to help put it in writing.