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What is probate?

Probate is the court-guided process of transferring a deceased individual's property. If a person passes with property in his or her name alone, then it is likely that probate will be required to retitle the property into a living person’s name.

How long does it take?

It depends. In Oregon, we have two levels of probate. The first level is for small estates. A small estate is currently defined as an estate valued at $275,000 or less; $200,000 allocated to real property and $75,000 allocated to personal property (everything else). Small estates can be handled very quickly. Most of the work can be completed in days or weeks rather than months.

Standard probate will vary in time based on the size and complexity of the estate. Many more filings and documents are required by the court for a standard probate proceeding. If the estate is simple, it is possible that probate may be completed in a matter of months, but it is not uncommon for the complete probate process to take over a year.

What does it cost?

It depends. A small estate proceeding requires less work and therefore costs less money. We can typically complete them for as little as $1000. Standard probate takes more time and requires more work, and will typically cost several times more than a small estate.

Can I avoid probate?

Yes. If you properly establish and maintain a valid trust, your property can distribute after passing without court administration. See our information about trusts here.