Estate Planning Attorney | Oregon Estate Plan | Portland, OR

Estate Planning

Estate Planning Attorney in Portland, Oregon

Many people think that estate planning is only for the extremely wealthy, but estate planning actually benefits everyone who wants to plan ahead on how they want their estate to be handled in their retirement years or when they die.

In addition to determining where your properties should go, estate planning can also be a great tool to include decisions about your family, especially your young children and their properties, your taxes, health care directives, and what happens to your body after death.

We feel it’s crucial to plan ahead when it comes to making end-of-life choices. Clients come to us with a variety of questions regarding how to safeguard and pass on the wealth they’ve earned over the course of their lives. Knowing their work will live on is something they deserve to have as a comfort.

At Michael D. O’Brien & Associates, P.C., our goal is to formulate a plan that will ensure the continued existence of your legacy for future generations through careful planning, management, and administration. When it comes to passing on the work that you have done throughout your life to another person, we are here to guide you in making the best choice possible.

Why Do I Need an Estate Planning Attorney in Portland, OR?

Those who have small assets as well as those who have substantial holdings might profit from estate planning. The creation of an estate plan assures that all property will be divided in accordance with the particular preferences of the person who has passed away, and that those who stand to gain from the estate will get the biggest possible distribution with the least amount of delay.

Additionally, estate planning assures that the estate will not be ruined by taxes that are levied on the transfer of assets after death. Consider these possible causes for the necessity for estate planning:

  • You want to guarantee that your loved ones get the money they are entitled to, rather than having to pay taxes on it following your death.
  • After your death, you would wish to leave money to a family member with special needs or impairments.
  • If you or your spouse were to pass away, you’d want someone else to take care of your affairs.
  • An attorney with massive experience in estate planning is the best choice for creating agreements that safeguard your family’s future.

Remember that estate planning isn’t only for the elderly or those who are terminally sick. Whatever your age or health, working with an estate planning lawyer in Portland will provide you with a sense of security in knowing that your future and the future of the people who mean the most to you are in good hands.

You can rely on Michael D. O’Brien & Associates, P.C. law firm to assist you in safeguarding the things that are important to you, whether you lead a simple life or own a significant amount of valuable property, both now and in the future.

What is an Estate Plan?

An estate plan is a set of legal documents that provide specific instructions regarding your care and the management of your assets in case you become incapacitated and what happens to your estate when you die. A good estate plan will reflect your personal wishes, provide financial benefits, and protect your loved ones. A good estate planning lawyer can help you create an estate plan that will reflect your wishes and take care of your family. 

There are different estate planning tools to choose from when planning your estate. Wills are the most popular and most common estate planning tool because they tend to be less complicated and less expensive. A living trust is another common tool that you can use to name the beneficiaries of your estate. One benefit of choosing a living trust is that your property doesn’t have to go through court probate. However, living trusts are usually more expensive and more complicated than wills.

Our Portland estate planning lawyers at Michael D. O’Brien & Associates can provide you with the best estate planning tools available to help you plan your estate. Call our experienced Portland estate planning lawyer at 503-852-9047 to get started today!

What is a Will?

A will is a fairly simple document that states what should happen to your estate once you die. A will can also be used to:

  • name the guardians of your minor children 
  • Leave property to young children
  • name an executor of your will
  • instruct how to pay your taxes. 

Since minor children cannot legally own property, when leaving property to your children, it must be managed by an adult at least until they reach the age of 18. Alternatively, you can also use your will to set up a testamentary trust for your children or name a custodian under the Uniform Transfer to Minors Act. If you don’t assign an adult to manage the property you’ve left behind for a minor in your will, then the court will assign someone to do it after your death.

Uniform Transfers to Minors Act (UTMA)

The Uniform Transfers to Minors Act (UTMA) allows a parent or other person to transfer property to a minor (under the age of 18) while retaining control over that property until the minor reaches adulthood. The UTMA also gives the custodian (the person who has control over the property) wide latitude in managing and investing the minor’s assets, provided that all income and capital gains earned on the assets are reinvested for the benefit of the minor.

The following are general guidelines for using this program:

  • A donor can name himself or herself as trustee, but only if he or she is willing to serve in this capacity without any compensation or reimbursement from the trust assets. If another person, such as an adult child or friend, is named trustee, then that person will receive compensation from the trust. However, if a trustee uses his or her own money to administer the trust and does not receive any reimbursement from it, then no taxable income will be reported on Form 1041-A when filing Form 1041 for that year.
  • The donor must name a successor trustee in case something happens before his death so that another person can take over managing the assets in accordance with his wishes.

This highly structured and court-supervised process is usually long and expensive. To find out if a will is right for you, consult a Portland estate attorney to help you decide the best estate planning tool for your needs.


As stated above, wills are subject to probate, the judicial process where a will is examined in a court of law to see if it is the legitimate last testament of the deceased individual. After hearing the testimony from the estate’s representative, the court will decide whether the will is valid or not. The court will also estimate the value of your properties and estate. 

During probate, the executor of your will also has to pay off any taxes and debts you owed through your estate’s assets. Creditors are also notified to file any claims for your estate for money owed to them. If there are any remaining funds, the claims will be paid according to the order dictated by state laws.

After the inventory of your estate, and the value of your estate is already calculated, and taxes and debts are paid back, your will’s executor will distribute the remaining assets in your estate to your heirs and beneficiaries.

Living Trusts

Similar to a will, a living trust is a legal document that you can use to name the beneficiaries of your estate and to direct how you want your assets to be distributed. However, different from a will, a living trust has an appointed trustee who will manage the distribution of the trust property after your death (a will has an executor who works with the probate court). 

To transfer property through a living trust, the property must be transferred into the trust. Usually, this is as easy as making a list of all your assets that you want to transfer and attach it to the trust document. But for items with title documents such as real estate, it must be retitled so that the trust will be the new owner of the property.

A living trust won’t go through the probate process, which can be a great deal if you want to avoid probate. Since all property passing through a living trust doesn’t have to go through probate, it is immediately given to the beneficiaries of the estate after the death of the grantor, without incurring any fees or guidance from the court.

However, not everyone has to avoid probate. If you don’t have much property, or if you have acquired many debts, then creating a living trust may not be necessary.

A living trust is also generally more expensive and more complicated to arrange and maintain. With a living trust, you can’t name an executor or assign guardians for your minor children. So if you plan to do those things, it is best to set up a will as well. In situations where you’re not sure what type of estate plan is best for you and your family, it is best to consult an experienced Portland estate planning attorney

Call Our Portland Estate Planning Attorney Today!

Planning for your future is important especially if you have a family to protect. At Michael D. O’Brien & Associates, we have a legal team of experts in estate planning who can help you draft your wills and trusts, avoid probate, and administer your estate. 

Experience is what makes all the difference when it comes to your family at Michael D. O’Brien & Associates. Call us today if you need legal help in Portland, Oregon. Our legal team is here to assist you in laying the groundwork for your future success.

Call our Portland, Oregon law office today at 503-852-9047 to get legal assistance in filing bankruptcy, getting asset protection, and estate planning services. 

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