Articles Tagged with estate planning

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The answer to this question may matter to you, your children, and your grandchildren! (Hint, the answer is no.)

Clark v. Rameker (13-299), in a unanimous decision:

JUSTICE SOTOMAYOR delivered the opinion of the Court.

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Oregon Life Insurance Finder Tool (LIFT)

The Oregon Insurance Division is pleased to help you search for the life insurance policy or annuity contract of a deceased family member. The division maintains a database of all the life insurance companies that sell policies in Oregon. If your family member lived in Oregon at some point, we will relay your request for a policy search to see if there is a match….” [Link to Oregon DCBS website.]

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I came across a couple of good articles with tips for people who use fill-in-the-blank estate planning form.

One is from a Consumer Reports story, “Write Your Own Will?”

The other was from the Oregonian’s Brent Hunsberger March 12, 2012, article: “Fill-in-the-blank wills can be a little skimpy.”   He used some web-based legal services and then solicited comments and feedback from Oregon attorneys.

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We have a new legal research guide on Estate Planning available on the law library’s website. You can find previously posted information on estate planning through the “estate planning” tag at the bottom of this post or through this link. Along those same lines, The Oregonian published an interesting article last Sunday, March 27, on estate sale fraud:

“Complaints to the DOJ concerning estate sellers, secondhand stores and auction houses have doubled since 2008. Among those lodging complaints are an elderly widower, a woman with breast cancer trying to fund her care and adult children selling the family home. All told the state they were never paid for heirlooms, which were either sold at garage sale prices or simply vanished. But when things go wrong, many people don’t know where to turn — and don’t want to shell out as much for legal fees as they’re looking to recoup.”

Consumers with complaints about Oregon businesses, including estate sellers and auction houses, can contact the Financial Fraud/Consumer Protection section of the Oregon Department of Justice’s Civil Enforcement Division. The Attorney General’s Consumer Hotline (1-877-877-9392) is available between the hours of 8:30 am and 4:30 pm. Consumers can also search the DOJ’s consumer complaints database for complaints filed after January 1, 2008.

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Legal Research for Parents of Adult Children with Disabilities
Questions from parents about adult children with disabilities can cover a very wide range of legal issues. The following resources (and our new Disability Law Legal Research Guide) cover a few popular topics.

Special Needs Trusts:
1) The Arc of Oregon has a website on the Oregon Special Needs Trust. The Oregon Special Needs Trust is a “pooled trust” fund that provides supplemental needs to disabled individuals.
2) The National Special Needs Network offers answers to Frequently Asked Questions about Supplemental Needs Trusts.

State and county resources:
1) The Oregon Department of Human Services has a list of County Developmental Disabilities Programs and a Support Services Brokerages List by county/region.
2) The Washington County Developmental Disability Program offers a number of useful agency links on their website.
3) Lifespan Respite, from the Oregon DHS, provides information for families and providers about caring for a child or adult with special needs.

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This is an update to previous posts on estate planning (and on pro se litigants):

Public law libraries, and public libraries generally, get a lot of questions from people (non-attorneys) who want to write their own wills, draft their own powers of attorney, and who want fill-in-the-blank estate planning legal forms.

1) If you have no money, no property, no children or relatives in Oregon or any other state, no heirs, no interest in leaving what you do have to a charity or nonprofit, and don’t care if what remains of your estate (everything) goes to the tax collector and/or the state general fund, you don’t have to read on.

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While there are dozens of print resources (and even more online) on specific wills, trusts, and estate planning issues and questions, here’s a short list of the basic, not to be skipped, Oregon estate planning forms and practice materials. These are print-only resources in most law libraries, though some libraries may have on-site online or CD-ROM access.

1) Oregon State Bar (OSB) estate planning practice and course books

2) Oregon Will and Trust Forms in the U.S. Bank 3-volume set (also on CD-ROM)

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Are there free, online, downloadable, official forms you can use to write a legally enforceable Oregon will?

Sorry, but the answer is no, at least not if you want your will to do what you intend and be legally enforceable. Oregon wills, and other estate planning documents, are not Wash & Wear, Click & Go, One-Size-Fits-All, or Eat and Run.

Will-drafting cannot be done on the fly, on Twitter (though I’m sure it has been tried – and may one day soon be tried in court), or with anything other than serious thought, study, and drafting skill. This is not to say one can’t draft a will oneself, or write one quickly in an emergency.

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People seeking to divorce often don’t realize how entwined their lives have become, with each other and with the law. It’s hard enough to deal with finances (and the dreaded QDRO) and “telling the children,” but what do you do when the benefited children get their own divorces, and the will doesn’t specify what share, if any, the ex-spouse gets?

A recent article in the April 2009 issue of the OSB Estate Planning and Administration Section newsletter (previous issues of the newsletter are free online) addresses some of these issues and looks at some recent Oregon cases:

How to Avoid Unintended Consequences of Estate Planning in Dissolution Court,” by Lisa Bertalan and Melissa Lande.