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Oregon's Laws of Inheritance


Oregon's Laws of Intestate Succession are based on the right of family members to inherit property from the decedent. Should you die with property titled in your name only, and without a Will, the state of Oregon provides one for you in the form of the Laws of Intestate Succession. Once your debts, funeral expenses, and the cost of the Probate procedure is paid, whatever is left (net Probate Estate) is distributed as follows:


SINGLE, WITH DESCENDANT

If you are not married but have children, all of whom survive you, then they will share equally in the Net Probate Estate. If one or more of your children do not survive you, but your deceased child left surviving descendants (children, grandchildren, etc.), then the descendants inherit the share intended for the deceased child by representation (ORS 112.065). By representation is one of those technical terms that is best explained by example:


Suppose a person is unmarried with four children, Ann, Barry, Carl and David. If he dies without a Will, and all of this children survive him, then each would inherit 25% of his Estate.


CHILD WITHOUT DESCENDANTS DIES BEFORE DECEDENT

If Ann dies before her father leaving no descendants, Barry, Carl and David will share equally in the Estate; i.e., each inherits a third.


CHILD WITH DESCENDANTS DIES BEFORE DECEDENT

Suppose instead that only Carl and David survived their father. If Ann died leaving two children and Barry died leaving one child, the Estate is divided into four shares - one for each surviving child and one share for each deceased child who left a descendant. Carl and David each get to inherit their 25% share. Ann's two children share her 25% (They each get 12 1/2%). Barry's child receives the share intended for Barry, namely 25% of the Estate.


MARRIED, NO DESCENDANT

If you are married with no surviving descendants (children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, etc.), your surviving spouse inherits all of your net Probate Estate (ORS 112.035).


MARRIED WITH DESCENDANT

If you are married with surviving descendants, all of whom are descendants of your spouse, your surviving spouse inherits all of your net Probate Estate. However, if one or more of your descendants is not that of your spouse, the spouse inherits half of your Estate and your descendants inherit the other half in equal shares, by representation (ORS 112.025(2)).


NO DESCENDANT, NO SPOUSE

If you have no spouse or descendant, your Estate is divided equally between your parents. If only one parent is alive, the Estate goes to that parent. If neither parent is alive, the Estate is inherited by your brothers and sisters in equal shares, by representation. There is no distinction between full blood siblings or half blood siblings. For example, if you have one brother with the same set of parents, and another brother with the same father and a different mother, both brothers inherit an equal share (ORS 112.095). If you have no brothers, sisters, or other descendants, your Probate Estate goes to your grandparents, in equal shares by representation (ORS 112.045(4)).


OREGON: HEIR OF LAST RESORT

In Oregon, property that is either unclaimed or abandoned goes to the State. So if you die without a Will and you have no next of kin as identified under 112.025 to 112.045, the State of Oregon will "inherit" your Probate Estate (ORS 112.055).



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