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
(503) 893-5878