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What are the laws in Oregon if someone didn't leave a will?

Milton-freewater, OR |

My sister claims she is "executor" of mother's estate, who recently passed . She is now claiming there is no will. I asked for a fewitems of mother's & she went on a "power trip", telling me to leave and saying she never wanted to see me again.

There are 5 of us & my mother recently sold her house. She had a stroke and as P.O.A. my sister let her get ripped off. I said the sale contract should have been voided because of my mother's medical condition. I also found out that my mother also owned a "cottage by the ocean", which I knew nothing of. I know nothing of her assets
Worst of all mother SHOULD have been autopsied due to circumstances of her dearh, but I can't even find out. My sister said she was going to cremate. I am extremely angry over this, plus her attitude.
What do I do?

It get even worse. Even though Oregon isnt a community property state, the man I consider responsible for her death is her surviving spouse!!! He is currently living in an expensive assisted living place, diagnosed with Alzeheimers. Yet he takes no medications for it...AND he has 2 children.

Attorney Answers 4

Posted

Your sister would appear to have no more rights in this than you, but you are not likely to make any headway on this unless you retain a probate attorney to assist you. It is not clear what the assets are, so you may have the attorney assist you in investigating this, first, so you can determine if it make sense to file a probate action. Time appears to be of the essence, here.

James Frederick

***Please be sure to mark if you find the answer "helpful" or a "best" answer. Thank you! I hope this helps. ***************************************** LEGAL DISCLAIMER I am licensed to practice law in the State of Michigan and have offices in Wayne and Ingham Counties. My practice is focused in the areas of estate planning and probate administration. I am ethically required to state that the above answer does not create an attorney/client relationship. These responses should be considered general legal education and are intended to provide general information about the question asked. Frequently, the question does not include important facts that, if known, could significantly change the answer. Information provided on this site should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed attorney that practices in your state. The law changes frequently and varies from state to state. If I refer to your state's laws, you should not rely on what I say; I just did a quick Internet search and found something that looked relevant that I hoped you would find helpful. You should verify and confirm any information provided with an attorney licensed in your state. I hope you our answer helpful!

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Asker

Posted

Yes, it is not clear what the assests are. I only just found out about this "cottage by the ocean" by a slip of the tongue when my two sisters talked about it. There is also a storage unit that my sister claims she does not know what the contents are. I doubt she is telling the truth. My mother was an artistic craftperson all her life and I would say her work belongs in a gallery. I have already consulted an attorney and wrote my sister for full disclosure. I am waiting for her to repl;y, just to see what she does. I thought probate is only filed if there is a will. ?????

Asker

Posted

PS I have not retained this attorney yet.

James P. Frederick

James P. Frederick

Posted

Probate is needed if there are any assets titled in the decedent's name alone, whether there is a Will or not.

Asker

Posted

that is interesting to know, thank you. Doesnt it also mean that my sister cannot claim everything?

James P. Frederick

James P. Frederick

Posted

Yes. Your sister would appear to have the same rights as you do. The only thing that would change that is if there were assets she held jointly with your mother, or if she was designated as beneficiary and you were not.

Asker

Posted

thank you, my sister claims there isnt a will, but that she has been named "Executor". She doesn't realize what that means. All she thinks is power power power to CHOOSE who gets what. She sent me a box of junk just to insult me. I read from researching it that she is not supposed to be distributing ANYHING yet until she inventories everything and send each heir a copy. I'm not sure if this is true in Oregon as laws differ from state to state, but if it is maybe I should just sit back and let her hang herself. Right now I am concernered with getting Justice for my mother, who died under horrible circumstances and I want the person who is responsible to be held accountable.

James P. Frederick

James P. Frederick

Posted

In most states, there can only be an executor is there is a Will. Otherwise, the person in that role is called an administrator. Michigan does not use either of these terms, and I am not sure about Oregon. In any case, the person in that role only gets authority by being appointed by the court. That person is also the only one legally authorized to pursue wrongful death or other lawsuits on behalf of the estate. Yes, the person in charge has power. But she would also have responsibilities, to the extent that she can be personally liable if she messes up.

James P. Frederick

James P. Frederick

Posted

That was supposed to read "if" there is a Will.

Asker

Posted

thank you. The only question is that nobody but her knows what is in storage. I asked for some family picture and she claimed she didnt know where they were, then produced a picture of my mother from one of those albums. I guess I can't do anything about what is in storage if I dont even know where it's at. I think any other assests will be "held" until probate--such as moneys, investments, life insurance, real estate, etc. correct? Why would she claim there is no will? Perhaps she just doesn't have a copy and hasnt figured out where to look, or else she is being secretive like always. She said she expects to "get something out of this", meaning payment for her time and labor. That's not the role of executor, according to what I read.

Asker

Posted

I guess she thinks she can do all this without paying for an attorney, but she hasnt even figured out that attorney's fees would come from the estate.

Asker

Posted

PS re: wrongful death: I want to see the person prosecuted. He deliberately and knowingly gave her syphillis many years ago and didnt tell her, then got himself treated. It lay dormant in her body, then destroyed her organs and brain. He is the surviving spouse. When I asked him how he felt, his comment was :"I guess she's my EX wife now".

James P. Frederick

James P. Frederick

Posted

Only the executor/administrator can pursue a wrongful death claim. And yes, that person can charge for his or her time. Sounds like a lot of tough things to work through on this one. I am very sorry for all the added "stuff" in addition to the loss of your mother.

Asker

Posted

Money aside, I called the police and finally got through to one of them. It is going to be investigated. I also called the Health Dept. as this is a communicable disease and must be reported by law. They will also investigate to find the source. I asked my sister to have an autopsy done but it's too late now. Ha. She is also P>O>A. of my mother's surviving spouse, who is in an expensive assisted livinf facility. Imagine the irony if they arrest him. According to her, there's not much left in the "joint" account. I thank you for giving me your time. Let's see what law enforcement does now.

James P. Frederick

James P. Frederick

Posted

You are very welcome. Regardless of the outcome with the police, I hope that you and your family are able to find peace once this is over with.

Posted

Run, do not walk to a probate attorney to help you with this. Your concerns are valid and should be investigated immediately. Your sister may sing a different tune when she is contacted by your attorney. There may be an innocent explanation of all of this; but, to preserve your rights you need to move immediately.

Please be sure and mark the best answer. Thank you! hope this helps. ***************************************** LEGAL DISCLAIMER James Oberholtzer is licensed to practice law in the Commonwealth of Virginia and the States of Illinois, Oregon and Washington. He has offices in Chicago, Illinois and Portland, Oregon. His law practice focuses on business, estate planning ( Wills and Trusts), probate administration, tax,real estate and tax exempt organizations. The foregoing statements do not create an attorney/client relationship. These responses should be considered general legal education and are intended to provide general information about the question asked. Frequently, the question does not include important facts that, if known, could significantly change the answer. Information provided on this site should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed attorney that practices in the subject area in your state. The law changes frequently and varies from state to state.

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Asker

Posted

how can she be named "executor" if there is no will? She thinks the term means that SHE gets to make all the deciisions about everything and that is what irks me. She did not protect my mothers interests when the house was sold; the "cottage" still exists. If there is no will, I would think all mothers assets (bank accounts, etc) would be denied access to until the matter is straightened out... I dont think she really knows how complicated the role of executor really is. I just sent her a letter requesting "Full Disclosure". That ought to keep her busy for awhile. To think, I held her in my arms as our mother lay dying. An hour later she started with "I decide".. What about the surviving spouse?

Asker

Posted

also, I asked her not to dispose of any more of mother's property, which will probably anger her. What is meant by establishing a "Personal Representative"? (question directed at George Mead)

Posted

I agree with the posted answers.
You need an attorney immediately to protect your interests.

The answer given does not imply that an attorney-client relationship has been established and your best course of action is to have legal representation in this matter.

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Posted

I agree with the other posts that you should contact a probate litigator immediately. The only hting I owuld add is that if, as your sister insists, there is no will , your mother died "intestate" and your sister has no more rights than you do. It is a race to the courthouse to file and get a Personal Representative appointed. You should also be ocncerned about your sister disposing of assets and trasnferring accounts.

If there was a will and your sisiter destroyred orvdisposed of it, it presents another set of circumstances.

This is going to a fight and you need a seasoned attroney to handl it for you.

This posting does not create an attorney client relationship ,and is for informational purposes only. Any formal representation and advice will require establishment of a contractual relationship with an attorney. For more information go to www.meadfirm.com

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