In Oregon, "estate planning" broadly refers to the process through which someone determines what is to be done with their assets after death.
The first step in any estate plan is to figure out what you truly want to be done with your assets after your death. This is a very personal decision, and you should discuss it with your family, and others who might have a direct interest in your decisions. As for truly implementing your goals, you should probably speak with a legal and/or financial professional to figure out the best way to accomplish these intentions.
In addition to decisions regarding the disposition of your property, you should decide how you want to spend your final days. For instance, many people have a strong preference about whether and to what extent they'd like to be kept alive by artificial means. Whatever your choice on this matter is, you should make it clear to the people who will be positioned to make such arrangements for you, if you are unable.
A knowledgeable estate planner in Oregon may also help you maximize the percentage of your assets that go to your chosen beneficiaries, by minimizing the impact of taxes and court fees. Moreover, preventing a will or other estate plan from being litigated in court will save your survivors an incalculable amount of time, money, and energy - and the better an estate plan is, the lower its chances of ending up in court.
Common Elements of Estates in Oregon
Estate plans in Oregon almost always have these elements:
Will: A will is a written instrument stating what you want to be done with your assets after you die. There are many pitfalls that can come up in the drafting of a will. Nonetheless, because the will doesn't have any legal or practical effect until after the person who made it died, they can't exactly correct these problems when they become apparent. Thus, quality drafting, usually with the assistance of a reliable attorney, is essential.
Power of Attorney: Granting someone "power of attorney" gives them the permission to make your decisions for you if it becomes impossible for you to do so. This incapacity can arise due to illness, injury, or mental incapacity.
Funeral Arrangements: If you have any choice whatsoever on how your mortal remains should be handled, you should make it clear to your family, in writing. You should additionally make the necessary arrangements with a funeral home, in advance. If possible, you should try to pay in advance for your funeral expenses, to save your survivors the further burden of planning and paying for a funeral. These arrangements should be laid out somewhere other than in your will, because a will typically isn't read for days or weeks after the testator's death, by which point it is usually too late.
Do I Need an Oregon Estate Planning Attorney?
To most people, these issues are necessary to their peace of mind during life. Therefore, it's very important to make them with the help of a reliable Oregon attorney, to make sure that they have the best possible chance of being implemented.
Interesting Facts About Oregon
The state of Oregon is located in the Pacific Northwest of the U.S. Oregon has a very rich geographic make-up, with many natural resources and pristine scenery. Thus, the state has some of the nation's strongest pro-environment laws and anti-urban growth policies. These are enforced in efforts to preserve the state's natural environment as the state economy expands.
Oregon is the only state in the U.S. where postal voting is the only method allowed for citizens to vote. The state pioneered voting by mail in 1998 and influenced many other U.S. areas that use postal voting. Also, in 1994 Oregon became the first state to establish state-wide health care through the Oregon Health Plan. In addition to its environmental laws, these developments have made Oregon a pioneer in terms of legal innovations.
There are many types of courts in Oregon, including the Supreme Court, Court of Appeals, and a variety of minor courts. Most Oregon lawsuits begin at the Circuit Court level. One of the most famous cases in U.S. law, Philip Morris USA v. Williams, originated in the state of Oregon. The Philip Morris case set precedents for claims involving large punitive damage awards, as the plaintiff was issued an award for $79.5 million.
Lawyers in Oregon focus on legal issues that can be quite specific to the region. Oregon laws contain regulations not found elsewhere in the U.S., but an experienced Oregon lawyer can provide expert advice on the state's laws. Attorneys in Oregon provide counsel and representation for clients with legal issues.