What Are The Different Types Of Wills? | Portland, OR

What Are The Different Types Of Wills?


Portland Wills Attorneys


A wills attorney can help you legally prepare a will for your estate. It is a legally bound document put into effect when you die. In it, you state your intentions to distribute your assets and properties after your death. It also designates the executor of your will and your heirs and beneficiaries. If you also have minor children, a valid will allows you to appoint someone to take care of them.

Wills are a relatively simple document you can use to protect your assets and plan your estate. However, having errors in its creation or modification can invalidate your will. Explicitly outlining what you want to happen in the future guarantees that your final wishes won’t be ignored.

A will is only one of the estate planning tools available out there. If you’re developing an estate plan, consult with an experienced Portland wills attorney. At Michael D. O’Brien & Associates PC, our trusted estate planning lawyers in Portland, OR, can help you draft your will. Contact our law firm today at (503) 694-4445.

Making a will in Oregon


A will, also known as a “last will and testament,” can assist you in protecting your family and assets. You may utilize a will to:

  • Entrust your property to individuals or institutions
  • Name a personal guardian to care for your minor children, a trusted person to manage the property you leave to minor children, and an executor, the person responsible for ensuring that your wishes are carried out.

The Purpose of Having a Will


Many people think that having an estate plan and a last will and testament is only for the extremely wealthy. In reality, everyone who is 18 years old and older should have a will. You will benefit from a will if you have any type of savings, properties, investments, or dependents.

If you don’t have a will, you’ve died “intestate.” Oregon state laws and the court will determine how your properties and assets are distributed when this happens. This includes any securities, bank accounts, real estate, and any other personal property you own at death.

The laws revolving around intestate succession can vary greatly depending on whether you were single, married, or had children. Usually, your estate is divided equally between your beneficiaries, including your surviving spouse, children, parents, siblings, and other relatives. If you have no relatives, your estate will go to the state.

Do I Absolutely Require a Will?


What Are The Different Types Of WillsRegardless of the size of your estate, you must have a documented plan detailing what will happen to your property when you pass away. Having a will in place will provide you and your loved ones with peace of mind. It can achieve each of the following:

  • Appoint an executor to carry out your intentions.
  • Nominate a guardian for your children if you pass away before they reach the age of 18; appoint a person to administer any property you leave to your children; and
  • Donate to family, friends, or charitable organizations.

In the absence of a will, your assets will be dispersed in accordance with Oregon’s intestacy laws. This implies that the courts choose who will take care of your children and your property and who will oversee the division of your assets. You should avoid doing so, as there is no assurance that the state’s laws would align with your personal preferences.

A person is not permitted to leave their children to another person in their will under Oregon law. If none of the children’s parents are alive, you can select someone to care for your children after your death, but the court has the final authority to approve a petition for guardianship if one is submitted.

Types of Wills


1. Last Will

Despite the similarities in name, a Living Will performs far more functions than a standard Last Will and Testament. A Living Will, also known as an Advance Healthcare Directive, is useful for end-of-life planning and communicating future medical care preferences.

If you become disabled for any reason and cannot communicate your wishes to doctors or loved ones, a Living Will can speak for you. The benefit of a Living Will is that it significantly reduces the strain on loved ones who must make difficult decisions on your behalf. Note that Living Wills are immediately rendered ineffective upon death.

2. Testamentary trust wills

Testamentary Trust Wills are also known as Will Trusts and Trust Under Wills. They are included in a Will and can be used to direct the disposition of assets after death. This type of Trust varies from others in that it is not created until after your passing. Testamentary Trust Wills are a viable alternative for arranging long-term care for Beneficiaries.

Unlike most Trusts, Testamentary Trust Wills are subject to probate, which can be a substantial drawback.

3. Pour-over will

Pour-Over Wills are complementary to Revocable Living Trusts. They are intended to provide greater privacy than a traditional Last Will and Testament. They function by “pouring over” any assets that do not go directly to a beneficiary of your Trust. Pour-Over Wills are helpful if not everything has been placed in a Trust.

4. Simple Will

As their name implies, Simple Wills are straightforward in that they do not contain a large number of provisions. However, the fact that they are simple does not preclude their effectiveness. You can complete basic estate planning in a Simple Will, including naming a guardian for minors and an Executor.

5. Joint Will

Joint Wills are Wills for two people contained within a single document. They can be used when spouses want to initially name each other as beneficiaries and subsequently name a child or children as the final Beneficiaries upon the death of both partners.

6. Deathbed will

For various reasons, deathbed wills are undesirable. The most significant disadvantage is that they are less effective than other forms of will. Made on a deathbed, and mostly under tragic circumstances, a Deathbed Will frequently raises doubts about mental soundness and its extent.

7. Online Will

Online Wills are a relatively recent notion within the realm of Estate Planning. There are numerous reliable, authoritative resources available to assist you in creating an effective and appropriate Online Will. However, you must be cautious about the DIY website you use to draft your Will or other Estate Planning documents.

8. Holographic Will

Although somewhat uncommon, holographic will nevertheless appear on occasion. Typically, these handwritten Wills are the consequence of extreme, unforeseen events, such as war or another life-threatening situation.

9. Nuncupative Will

The Nuncupative Will is a verbal explanation of ultimate wishes. As with Holographic Wills, not all states recognize Nuncupative Wills. In addition, certain states have stringent requirements for what constitutes a legitimate Nuncupative Will. For instance, a state may only acknowledge them if they are written down after being said.

Do I Need to Have My Will Notarized?


Although Oregon does not mandate that a will be notarized, the law permits you to make your will “self-proving,” which requires a notary. Self-proving wills expedite the probate process since the court can accept the will without contacting the witnesses who witnessed its execution. To make your will self-proving, you and your witnesses will go to the notary and sign an affidavit stating you are who you say you are and aware you are signing the will.

Need Help With Your Estate Planning? Call a Portland Wills Attorney!


Planning for the future can save your family time and money. At Michael D. O’Brien & Associates, we have Portland attorneys with experience in different areas of law who can help you plan your estate.

If you’re planning to create a will or are interested in knowing what other options you have for your estate plan, our Portland real estate law firm is here to provide legal advice.

Call our Portland, Oregon law firm today to get legal assistance and representation in filing bankruptcy, finding debt alternatives, and protecting your assets in Oregon.

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Whether you're dealing with overwhelming debt, stopping foreclosure or repossession proceedings, or looking for a way to protect your assets, our Portland bankruptcy attorneys are here to help you overcome your financial hurdles!

Please be aware that submission of this no-obligation form does not establish an attorney-client relationship. By filling out the form, you agree to receiving emails from our firm regarding your case evaluation and other helpful resources.