A surviving spouse has certain rights to the deceased spouse’s estate under Oregon law. If the deceased spouse left a valid will, the terms of the will generally control who receives the deceased spouse’s assets. However, if the surviving spouse does not receive the portion of the deceased spouse’s estate granted to spouses under Oregon law, the surviving spouse can elect to file a claim against the deceased spouse’s estate to satisfy the spousal elective share amount. This amount is a percentage of the deceased spouse’s augmented estate based on the length of the marriage. If the marriage lasted fifteen years or more, the elective share amount is thirty-three percent of the augmented estate.
If a probate is required and the deceased person did not have a valid will, the deceased spouse’s assets would be distributed according to the laws of intestacy for the State of Oregon. Generally, these laws reflect how most people would want assets distributed at their death. In a simple family situation, everything would go to the surviving spouse. If the deceased spouse left children from a previous marriage, the surviving spouse would receive one-half of the deceased spouse’s probate assets and the children from the previous marriage would share the other one-half.
A surviving spouse may also receive the deceased spouse’s share of jointly owned assets, like the family home and bank accounts, if they were owned with a right of survivorship.
An experienced Estate Planning and Probate attorney can help you understand your rights as a surviving spouse. Contact the Probate attorneys with the Law Offices of Nay & Friedenberg in Portland, Oregon at (503) 245-0894 to set an appointment.
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