What is Probate?
Probate is the court-supervised transfer of property from a deceased person (decedent) to his or her heirs and beneficiaries. If the decedent had a will, the will specifies who receives the decedent’s estate.
The decedent with a will is said to have died “testate.” If the decedent did not have a will, state law defines who inherits the estate. The decedent without a will is said to have died “intestate” and the estate ends up in probate.
Probate is a court process. Some of the many steps are included here to illustrate how complicated the process can be and why it is important that you work with an experienced attorney should probate be necessary.
Petition and Appointment of Personal Representative
The attorney identifies who can and should serve as the personal representative for the decedent’s estate. The attorney then prepares a petition to the court asking that the court appoint the personal representative (executor).
Our Probate attorneys in Portland identify who can and should serve as the personal representative, or “fiduciary;” that is, manager of money, assets, and businesses that do not belong to him. The personal representative is bound to complete the following:
- Carry out the necessary tasks of the estate
- Act prudently regarding assets (for example, only invest in the most conservative investments)
- Act loyally, that is, avoid conflicts of interest
- Act impartially to all heirs, beneficiaries, creditors
- Protect estate assets
- Delegate wisely
- Provide information to heirs and beneficiaries
- Keep a paper trail of all transactions
The Portland Oregon Probate Attorneys at Nay & Friedenberg LLC have represented hundreds of executors (personal representatives), as well as heirs, devisees, creditors and other interested family members involved in the probate process.