Who will inherit an estate when there are no beneficiaries?

Controlling where your assets go at your death takes planning. If you die without a will (intestate) or if all of your beneficiaries die before you and you have not named an alternate beneficiary the laws of intestacy in your State of residence decide who receives your estate (assets). Having contingent (alternate) beneficiaries is always a good idea in case a beneficiary dies before you.

Under Oregon’s laws of intestacy, if you are survived by a spouse and you have no surviving children from a previous marriage, 100% goes to your spouse. If you are survived by a spouse and by your children from a previous marriage, 50% goes to your spouse and 50% to your children from the previous marriage. If you are not survived by a spouse but are survived by your children, 100% goes to your children in equal shares. If you have no surviving spouse or surviving children, 100% goes to your to parents. If you have no surviving spouse, children, or parents, your estate goes to your brothers and sisters in equal shares. Children of a deceased brother or sister take a deceased brother or sister’s share in equal amounts. If you have no surviving spouse, children, parents, brothers or sisters, nieces or nephews, your estate goes to your grandparents. If you are not survived by any of the above family members, your estate “escheats to the state,” which means your estate becomes the property of the state of Oregon.

You should remember that a will or the laws of intestacy for those dying without a valid will only govern assets that pass through your probate estate. A probate asset is an asset in an individual’s name alone without a right of survivorship or beneficiary designation.

An experienced Estate Planning attorney can help you understand who will receive your assets after you die and explain your options to ensure the outcome you desire. Contact the Estate Planning attorneys with the Law Offices of Nay & Friedenberg in Portland, Oregon at (503) 245-0894 to set an appointment.

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