Intestate Succession in Oregon
When you pass away, your affairs must be settled and your assets must be passed on. If you leave a valid Will, your Will indicates who inherits from you and what they receive. However, if you pass away without a valid Will, you are considered “intestate.” In that situation, Oregon’s rules of intestate succession will apply to you and your estate.
Oregon’s rules of intestate succession establish a hierarchy for who will inherit from you. Basically, the rules leave your estate to your closest surviving relatives. The order of the hierarchy starts with your spouse (if you are married), then your children, your grandchildren, your parents, your siblings, aunts and uncles, cousins, and so on. If you have absolutely no surviving relatives, the State of Oregon inherits from you.
One common complication is if you are married but have children from a prior relationship. In that scenario, your spouse would inherit a portion of your estate and your children from the prior relationship would share the remainder of your estate.
Children by adoption and other relatives by adoption are treated the same as biological children or relatives. There are some exceptions for children who are adopted by stepparents.
Children born out of wedlock are treated the same as children born in wedlock, as long as legal paternity was established during the child’s life.
Please note: Oregon’s rules of intestate succession apply only to your assets that are subject to probate proceedings. These rules do not apply to any assets that pass without probate proceedings, such as jointly-titled assets, assets held in a trust, or assets that are subject to a valid beneficiary designation.
If you have questions about how Oregon’s intestate succession rules might affect you, or to discuss your estate planning options, please feel free to contact attorney Brian T. Hemphill.