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What is a trust?

A trust is a common estate planning tool recognized by Oregon law and used to create predictable estate plans. A trust is a separate legal entity that is created and funded by an individual (a settlor or trustor), managed by an individual (a trustee), for the benefit of an individual or group of people (beneficiaries).

Trusts are very flexible, private documents that allow the settlor to create a plan for their property that ranges from simple to complex.

Do trusts go through probate?

No. One of the primary reasons trusts are created is to avoid the probate process. Probate is not all bad, however, it does take time, it costs money (frequently thousands of dollars), and it is completely public. An estate that goes through probate will be on file at the local court and of the filed documents are generally available for inspection, including the will, the inventory of estate assets, and the distribution of the assets.

If properly established and managed, a trust does NOT go through the probate process. The trust document will have specific provisions for distribution of trust assets after someone passes away. Because this property is technically owned by the trust, it survives the passing of the settlor. Simple trusts can usually be administered privately, but we are available to assist in the administration of any trust.

What does it cost?

Simple trusts start at $1000. If the trust will be more complex (e.g. multiple pieces of real property, many beneficiaries with varying share distributions, etc.), then a different price will be quoted. With all of our estate planning work, we attempt to use a predictable flat-rate price that will keep our clients from being surprised when the bill arrives.

Trusts do cost more than a will to establish, however, they can avoid all of the expenses of probate. This can result in a net gain for the estate, and more property to pass on.