Probate Shortcuts in Oregon

Save time and money when you wrap up an estate in Oregon.

Oregon offers a probate shortcut for "small estates." This makes it easier for survivors to transfer property left by a person who has died. You may be able to transfer a large amount of property using the following probate shortcut -- saving time, money, and hassle.

Simplified Probate Procedures

Oregon has a simplified probate process for small estates. To use it, you (as an inheritor) file a written request with the local probate court asking to use the simplified procedure. The court may authorize the executor to distribute the assets without having to jump through the hoops of regular probate.

You can use the simplified small estate process in Oregon if the fair market value of the estate is $275,000 or less, and not more than $75,000 of the estate is personal property and not more than $200,000 is real estate. There is a 30-day waiting period. Or. Rev. Stat. § § 114.515 and following.

The request must contain the following information:

  • the deceased person’s name, age, mailing and physical address, and Social Security number
  • the date and place of death
  • a certified copy of death certificate
  • a description and estimated value of all property of the estate, including a legal description of any real property
  • the will, if any
  • the names of the heirs and beneficiaries named in the will and their addresses
  • a statement that you gave the heirs and beneficiaries a copy of the request and will
  • a statement regarding what property each heir or beneficiary is entitled to
  • a statement regarding how you have tried to determine creditors of the estate
  • a list of expenses and claims against the estate that have not been paid
  • a list of the name and address of known creditors and a statement that a copy of the request will be mailed to them
  • a list of the name and address of claims against the estate that you dispute and the amount of the claim
  • a statement that you will send a copy of the request to the Department of Human Services or to the Oregon Health Authority, and
  • a statement that any claims against the estate will be barred unless a creditor presents a claim within four months of you filing the request.

Or. Rev. Stat. § § 114.525.

You are then responsible for taking possession of the property. Within 30 days, you must give a copy of the request to everyone you identified in the request. You may open a bank account in the estate’s name. To the extent that it is possible, you must pay the expenses and claims against the estate in the following order of priority:

  1. spousal and family allowance (up to one half of the value of the estate with any periodic payments up to one year after the deceased person’s death)
  2. debts and taxes with preference under federal law
  3. reasonable and necessary medical expenses of the last illness
  4. taxes with preference under state law
  5. unpaid wages for 90 days before the date of death
  6. child support arrearages
  7. claims by the Department of Veterans’ Affairs
  8. claims by the Department of Human Services or the Oregon Health Authority
  9. claims by the Department of Corrections

As possible, you must pay undisputed claims you listed in the request, allowed claims you receive in the required time, and claims the probate court directs you to pay. You can sell any vehicle and transfer real property (as long as you deposit any funds from a sale to the estate account). Or. Rev. Stat. § § 114.545.

For More Information

For help determining if an estate qualifies for this probate shortcut, or handling an estate in general, see The Executor’s Guide, by Mary Randolph (Nolo) or Estate Planning Basics, by Denis Clifford (Nolo).

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