Estate Planning

Comprehensive estate planning involves providing for the disposition of your assets upon your death with a minimum amount of taxation, while providing for the administration and protection of your assets during your lifetime and for decision-making in the event of a disability or illness.

For a complete estate plan, along with a last Will and Testament or Living Trust, a person often needs a durable financial power of attorney, which names an agent responsible for asset management, bill paying and other financial activities, and an Advance Directive for health care.

In Oregon, if you die without a will, trust, or other means of transferring ownership, your estate will be passed along according to specific rules, known as intestate succession.  While the laws of intestate succession determine the beneficiaries, the process of distribution is more complicated than if there were a will, trust, or other method of transferring ownership, and a probate is always required.  Probate is the court-supervised transfer of property from a deceased person to his or her heirs and beneficiaries.

A complete estate plan can ensure that your assets are distributed according to your wishes, rather than according to the rules of intestate succession and may include trusts, which may allow your estate to avoid having to go through probate.  Certain types of trusts can be used to help lower or avoid inheritance or estate taxes.

If you need assistance with estate planning, including preparing a Will or Living Trust, or have questions or concerns about Estate Planning issues, please don’t hesitate to call Justus McCann at (541) 344- 1930.

Living Trusts

A Living Trust is an agreement between you, as the Settlor or Trustor, and an individual or entity, known as the Trustee, made during your lifetime. The trust agreement determines how assets placed in the Trust will be managed and distributed. Trusts can be Revocable or Irrevocable.

A Revocable Living Trust can provide various benefits to meet lifetime purposes, such as:

  • Providing for the management of your assets during your lifetime and naming someone to assume responsibility for them if you become disabled.
  • Allowing you to determine how your assets are to be managed by providing written instructions in the trust.
  • Allowing your estate to avoid the expenses and fees of probate upon your death.
  • With special planning, a trust can help lower or avoid inheritance taxes, as well as allow you to set special provisions for minor or disabled children.  It is important to note, however, that not all Living Trusts help to lower or avoid inheritance taxes.  This requires special planning.
  • Revocable Trusts can be amended or terminated according to the terms of the trust agreement.

An Irrevocable Trust can provide substantial estate or inheritance tax savings and in some situations shelter assets from creditors.  However, Irrevocable Trusts, cannot be changed or cancelled, have special tax treatment, and may restrict the access to, or use of assets.

If you need assistance preparing a Living Trust, or have questions about Living Trusts, please don’t hesitate to contact Justus McCann at (541) 344-1930.

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. If the decedent did not have a will, the estate is distributed according to the laws of intestate succession through the Probate Process.

Probate is a legal process with many steps, which can be complicated. These steps include: filing the initial Petition, appointing the Personal Representative, gathering all financial, asset and debt information, providing notice to all interested parties and creditors, inventory, collection and management of assets, responding to creditor claims, preparing the Final Accounting and distributing the assets. Therefore, it is important to have the assistance of an experienced attorney.

If you need assistance with a Probate matter, please contact the Law Offices of Justus McCann at (541) 344-1930.

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859 Willamette St. Suite #240
Eugene, OR 97401