2018 Oregon Estate Tax Rates

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The State of Oregon levies a tax on taxable estates that have a value of more than $1 Million.  Estates of less than $1 Million are exempt from the Oregon Estate Tax.  This is a separate from the Federal Estate Tax.  In 2018, individuals with less $11.2 Million and couples with less than $22.4 Million are exempt from the Federal Estate tax.  The top Federal Estate tax rate is 40%.  More information on determining the Federal Estate Tax rates can be found at IRS.gov.

Taxable Estate Equal to or more than: Taxable Estate less than: Tax rate on Taxable Estate amount more than column 1
$1,000,000 $1,500,000 $0 + 10%
1,500,000 2,500,000 50,000 + 10.25%
2,500,000 3,500,000 152,500 + 10.5%
3,500,000 4,500,000 267,500 + 11%
4,500,000 5,500,000 367,500 + 11.5%
5,500,000 6,500,000 482,500 + 12%
6,500,000 7,500,000 602,500 + 13%
7,500,000 8,500,000 732,500 + 14%
8,500,000 9,500,000 872,500 + 15%
9,500,000 1,022,500 + 16%
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We Can Help Minimize Your Oregon Estate Taxes
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Portland Probate Attorney
kevin@pnwprobate.com
(503) 893-5878

Is a Handwritten Will Valid in Oregon?

Is a Handwritten Will Valid in Oregon?

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The short answer is no.  Wills that are handwritten and not witnessed are not recognized as valid in Oregon.  A handwritten will that is witnessed by two individuals will be considered valid.  

I have written more about about the basics of estate planning in the following articles:

  1. Basics of an Oregon Estate Plan (Part 1)
  2. Basics of an Oregon Estate Plan (Part 2)

  3. Basics of an Oregon Estate Plan (Part 3)

 

Portland Probate Attorney
kevin@pnwprobate.com
(503) 893-5878

Oregon Probate Fees in 2017

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How Much Does Probate Cost in Portland  Oregon?

I have broken down the common court costs and fees that associated with probating an estate in Oregon.  For 2017, the uncontested estates that I helped administer ranged from $2632.50 to $4,950.00.  In contested estates where the heirs are arguing over the validity of a will or the distribution of property, the costs with be much higher.

 

Breakdown of Probate Legal Fees

Service Cost
2017 Court Filing Fees $558.00
Publication Fees $128.00
2017 Attorney Fee Average (Uncontested Administration) $4183.59

The averages were calculated from estates I helped administer for my clients in Clackamas, Multnomah and Washington Counties. 

The size of the estate didn't seem to increase the cost of the administration.  Homes in foreclosure and large debts tended to increase the attorney fees the most in uncontested administrations.   The estates that didn't have homes in foreclosure averaged closer to $2,500.  

 

Other Costs

By far the largest cost in the majority of probates in Oregon are the realtor fees.  I have a previous post that goes more in depth into How Much Does Probate Cost in Oregon if you want to learn more.

 

Portland Probate Attorney
kevin@pnwprobate.com
(503) 893-5878

2017 Oregon Estate Tax Rates

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The State of Oregon levies a tax on taxable estates that have a value of more than $1 Million.  Estates of less than $1 Million are exempt from the Oregon Estate Tax.  This is a separate from the Federal Estate Tax.  In 2017, estates smaller than $5,490,000  are exempt from the Federal Estate tax.  The top Federal Estate tax rate is 40%.  More information on determining the Federal Estate Tax rates can be found at IRS.gov.

The 2017 Oregon Estate Tax Rates are:

Taxable Estate Equal to or more than: Taxable Estate less than: Tax rate on Taxable Estate amount more than column 1
$1,000,000 $1,500,000 $0 + 10%
1,500,000 2,500,000 50,000 + 10.25%
2,500,000 3,500,000 152,500 + 10.5%
3,500,000 4,500,000 267,500 + 11%
4,500,000 5,500,000 367,500 + 11.5%
5,500,000 6,500,000 482,500 + 12%
6,500,000 7,500,000 602,500 + 13%
7,500,000 8,500,000 732,500 + 14%
8,500,000 9,500,000 872,500 + 15%
9,500,000 1,022,500 + 16%
ASK US A QUESTION
We Can Help Minimize Your Oregon Estate Taxes
Name *
Name
Phone
Phone
Portland Probate Attorney
kevin@pnwprobate.com
(503) 893-5878

Oregon Probate Inventory

What is required on an estate inventory.

One of the first tasks must be completed during the administration of an estate is the inventory.  The inventory must be completed within 60 days of the appointment of a personal representative and provide estimates of the value of the property as of the date of death.

ORS 113.165 Filing inventory and evaluation

Within 60 days after the date of appointment, unless a longer time is granted by the court, a personal representative shall file in the estate proceeding an inventory of all the property of the estate that has come into the possession or knowledge of the personal representative. The inventory shall show the estimates by the personal representative of the respective true cash values as of the date of the death of the decedent of the properties described in the inventory.

Determining the values of assets is generally straightforward.  You can look at the balance of a bank account or investment account at the date of death.  

Hiring Appraisers

Sometimes the estate will have unusual or unique property that must be appraised.  Oregon law allows the personal representative to hire an appraiser that will be paid by the estate as a necessary expense.

ORS 113.185 Appraisement

(1) The personal representative may employ a qualified and disinterested appraiser to assist the personal representative in the appraisal of any property of the estate the value of which may be subject to reasonable doubt. Different persons may be employed to appraise different kinds of property.
(2) The court in its discretion may direct that all or any part of the property of the estate be appraised by one or more appraisers appointed by the court.
(3) Property for which appraisement is required shall be appraised at its true cash value as of the date of the death of the decedent. Each appraisement shall be in writing and shall be signed by the appraiser making it.
(4) Each appraiser is entitled to be paid a reasonable fee from the estate for services and to be reimbursed from the estate for necessary expenses.

Personal Items and Household Goods.

Generally speaking, it is fine to lump the household goods and personal items together on the inventory.  If the items have a substantial value, they should be listed individually on the inventory.  

When determining a "substantial value", most attorneys rely on 26 CFR 20.2031-6 - Valuation of household and Personal effects.

(b) Special rule in cases involving a substantial amount of valuable articles. Notwithstanding the provisions of paragraph (a) of this section, if there are included among the household and personal effects articles having marked artistic or intrinsic value of a total value in excess of $3,000 (e.g., jewelry, furs, silverware, paintings, etchings, engravings, antiques, books, statuary, vases, oriental rugs, coin or stamp collections), the appraisal of an expert or experts, under oath, shall be filed with the return. The appraisal shall be accompanied by a written statement of the executor containing a declaration that it is made under the penalties of perjury as to the completeness of the itemized list of such property and as to the disinterested character and the qualifications of the appraiser or appraisers.

Amended and Supplemental Inventories

Occasionally the personal representative will have to correct or add information to the inventory that was filed with the court.  

When the information filed with the court was incorrect, the personal representative must file an amended inventory to correct that mistake.  

A supplemental inventory is required when the personal representative finds property of the estate after the original inventory has been filed.

Other types of assets

Real estate located outside of Oregon should not placed on the inventory.  Certain beneficial interests may or may not be listed on the inventory.  You should talk to your attorney if you have any questions regarding beneficial interests.

 

 

 

 

Portland Probate Attorney
kevin@pnwprobate.com
(503) 893-5878

Basics of an Oregon Estate Plan (Part 3)

Part 3.  Advance Care Planning

This is the Third Article in our Basics of Estate Planning series.  In this article, we will explain options for health care decision making.  We will talk about two documents that allow you to express your wishes when you are not able to.  The first are legal documents call advance directives.  The second are medical orders call Physicians Orders for Life Sustaining Treatment (POLST.)

Advance Directives

The Oregon Health Care Decisions Act (ORS Chapter 127) allows Oregonians to create Advance Directives for Health Care, Powers of Attorney, Declarations for Mental Health Treatment and other documents.  Advance Directives are legal documents.

Healthcare Representatives

Advanced directives allow a person to decide their treatment wishes while they are still able.  They also allow you to appoint a healthcare representative to direct your health care when you are unable to do so.  You can also place limits on the decisions that your Healthcare Representative can make for you. For example, you may have certain religious or ethical beliefs that you want taken into account when life-sustaining decisions are being made and that your Healthcare Representative should honor your wishes.

Healthcare instructions

Advanced directives also allow you to make decisions about specific medical conditions and treatments.  Below is an excerpt from an Advanced Directive:

Oregon Advance Directive

 

In this example, you have an Advanced Progressive illness and are very unlikely to substantially improve.  Importantly, you are unable to communicate and someone else will have to make medical decisions for you.  With the Advance Directive you can choose the care you desire in this situation by initialing the form. 

The State of Oregon has information regarding Advance Directives and an Advance Directive form available online (http://www.oregon.gov/DCBS/insurance/shiba/topics/Pages/advancedirectives.aspx)

Physician Order for Life Sustaining Treatment (POLST)

A POLST is an optional form that you create with your health care provider.  A POLST is a medical order that must be signed by a health care professional in order to be valid.  A POLST is typically used by those that are seriously ill or are near the end of life.  

A POLST will tell medical professionals whether you want CPR, tube feeding or any other medical interventions that may sustain life.  


Basics of estate planning series

You can review the other articles in this series.

 

 

 

Portland Probate Attorney
kevin@pnwprobate.com
(503) 893-5878

Basics of an Oregon Estate Plan (Part 2)

Part 2. What is a Trust.

This is the second article in our basics of estate planning series.  In this article, we will explain what a Revocable Trust is, what it can be used for and what it can’t do.

The first article in the series is Part 1. What is a Will.

What is a Living Trust?

A living trust is simply a contract with yourself.   You establish a trust by written agreement and by “funding” the trust by transferring your property into it.  The trust will appoint a “trustee” to administer the assets of the trust.  The trust agreement will also provide instructions for how the trust is to be administered.  A living trust can be a used to avoid Probate or Conservatorship.  

How does a Living Trust Work?

By retitling all of your property from yourself to the living trust while you are living and providing instructions for the “successor trustee” to distribute your property after your pass, very little of your property will pass through probate.

 

 A diagram explaining the mechanics of a living trust.

A diagram explaining the mechanics of a living trust.

A “Pour Over Will” is often used alongside a living trust to move property into the trust that was missed or was acquired after the trust was formed.  A downside of this method is that “Pour Over Will” may have to be settled through a probate proceeding before the assets of the living trust can be distributed.  Another option is to transfer the property not included in the living trust directly to the heirs by a small estate proceeding.  

How does a Living Trust avoid Conservatorship?

Conservatorship is when the court determines that you are unable to manage your financial affairs and appoints a conservator to do so.  By transferring your property to a revocable living trust and providing detailed instructions for the successor trustee in the event you become incapacitated, you can avoid the court oversight and costs involved in a conservatorship.

Drawbacks of a Living Trust.

The main drawbacks of a Revocable Living Trust are:


1.    Complexity.  Trusts are often left unfunded and property acquired after the formation of the trust is not moved into the trust.  Living Trusts require more maintenance and ongoing administration than a will.
2.    Costs.  Living Trusts are more expensive than creating a will.  For young and healthy individuals, the costs of probate and conservatorship are likely many years down the road.  For these individuals, they are often times better off investing the money they would have spent setting up a Living Trust.  Older individuals will more quickly see the benefits of probate and conservatorship avoidance and may want to consider a living trust.
3.    Unforeseen Consequences.  Family’s change and the law changes.   Companies may want to review the trust documents if you purchase or insure property.  Stock in certain corporations may not be held in some trusts without serious tax implications.  You may also have difficulty acquiring assets in other Countries.

 

 

If would like to learn more about how to plan your estate, visit our practice page or search the blog on the right.  You can also sign up for our newsletter and have estate planning tips delivered to your email.

Portland Probate Attorney
kevin@pnwprobate.com
(503) 893-5878

Basics of an Oregon Estate Plan (Part 1)

Part 1.  What is a Will.

This is the first article in our basics of estate planning series.  In this article, we will explain what a Will is, what it can be used for and what it can’t do. 

Part two of our series is Part 2. What is a Living Trust.

What is a Will? 

A Will allows someone to decide how they want their assets divided after they have passed away.  Any person who is 18 years or older or who has been lawfully married or who has been emancipated, and who is of sound mind, may make a Will.

What happens if I die without a Will in Oregon?

If you die without a Will your assets are distributed according to the laws of Oregon.  Inheriting without a Will is called intestate succession and we have an article that diagrams some of the common ways your assets may be distributed. (Intestate Succession in Oregon)

Benefits of a Will.

There are many benefits to creating a Will.  At the minimum, a Will should appoint a personal representative and waive bond.  A Will can allow you to make a charitable gift, create a testamentary trust for your children, or even provide for your pets.

Formalities of making a Will.

There are several formalities that you need to follow in order to have a valid Will in Oregon.  The most important are that they are in writing and that two witnesses watch you sign your Will.

Does a Will avoid probate in Oregon?

A Will does not avoid probate but it can make the administration of probate cheaper and easier.  Your Will allows you to appoint a Personal Representative  to manage your estate and you will be able to waive bond for the personal representative.  Just doing those two things will save your estate money and move your estate through the probate court more quickly.

Elective Share.

While your Will ordinarily controls how you distribute your assets, your spouse has a right to claim part of your estate.  You are not required to provide for anyone in your Will and Oregon doesn’t allow anyone to claim a portion of your estate except for your spouse.

I have no money.  Should I make a Will?

How you distribute your assets is only part of what your Will does.  Your Will also allows you to make arrangements for your minor children. 

How do I change my Will?

You can make changes to your Will be adding something called a codicil.  A codicil requires the same legal formalities as a creating a Will. 

How do I revoke my Will?

Your Will may be revoked by creating another Will or by the physical act of destroying the Will with the intent to revoke it.  Certain acts automatically revoke your will.  If you get married or divorced, you should consult with an attorney to see how it affects you.  Getting married may revoke a previously written Will.  Getting divorced in Oregon revokes portions of your Will that benefit your former spouse.  If you have or adopt children after executing your Will, your Will may be modified by state law to provide for those children.

 

If would like to learn more about how to plan your estate, visit our practice page or search the blog on the right.  You can also sign up for our newsletter and have estate planning tips delivered to your email.

 

 

 

Portland Probate Attorney
kevin@pnwprobate.com
(503) 893-5878

Duties of an Oregon Personal Representative

You've been appointed the Personal Representative.  Now what do you do?

When you are appointed as the personal representative in a will or by the laws of intestate succession, you may and may not be sure what being a personal representative requires.

The duties of a personal representatives are described by statute as:

ORS 114.265, General duties of personal representative

A personal representative is a fiduciary who is under a general duty to and shall collect the income from property of the estate in the possession of the personal representative and preserve, settle and distribute the estate in accordance with the terms of the will and ORS chapters 111, 112, 113, 114, 115, 116 and 117 as expeditiously and with as little sacrifice of value as is reasonable under the circumstances.

 

In plain English this means that the Personal Representative must:

  • Safeguard the property of the decedent’s estate.  If it is necessary for property to not be in the possession of the personal representative, then a custody receipt should be used.
  • Open a separate estate bank account and deposit all checks and cash of the estate.
  • Notify Heirs and Beneficiaries.
  • File an inventory of the decedent’s assets with estimated values.
  • Determine the creditors of the estate and pay valid claims.  If the estate does not have enough money to pay all creditor claims, then the claims will be paid according to priority of claims set out by statute.
  • File state and federal income tax returns and pay taxes.  Prepare a Federal and State Estate tax return if one is required.
  • If the Estate Administration lasts longer than a year, then the personal representative must file an annual inventory with the court.
  • Receive court approval before paying fees to the personal representative or before distributing property to the heirs or beneficiaries.

You Can Find More Information

  1. On our Probate Practice Page.
  2. Review blog posts about probate.
  3. Search our website in the box on the right side of the page.

 

Portland Probate Attorney
kevin@pnwprobate.com
(503) 893-5878