Will my father’s business assets go through probate when he passes away? – Probate Attorney – Portland, Oregon.

ArchiveProbably yes, unless your father takes steps to avoid probate. Businesses tend to be owned in individual name.  They are not in joint name with survivorship.  They have no named beneficiaries.  As assets in individual name they will have to be probated at death.  If worth more than $75,000 (2015) in Oregon, they will need a regular probate.

To avoid probate, you must first know how the business is organized.  It can be organized in a number of ways. Typically, it can be a limited liability company, corporation or sole proprietorship.  How your father’s particular business is organized will determine what he owns, for example, shares in a corporation or unit interests in an LLC.

Once that is known, then a visit with an estate planning lawyer can determine how to avoid probate.  If the situation is simple, perhaps interests can be created with a right of survivorship.  This is not common outside of between husbands and wives.  More commonly the business interest will be transferred to a trust because trusts avoid probate.

Note that some businesses present unique planning issues.  For example, subchapter S corporations cannot be placed in all trusts and some professional practices must be owned by the professional.

If a probate is needed, an experienced probate attorney can further explain the process to you, assist you with preparing the necessary documents for probate, and make court appearances if needed. Contact the probate attorneys with the Law Offices of Nay & Friedenberg in Portland, Oregon at (503) 245-0894 to set an appointment.

If you would like to learn more about the probate process, click here to receive our FREE Legal/Financial Planning Guide.