My father had only his acct for SSI/monthly but used it mainly for housing. He had no other assets or property. I need to pay the funeral home and was told that his Death Certificate would suffice to access or even close his acct to pay the funeral home, but the bank says it is not. I don't have money for an attorney or to pay the funeral home myself, or I would..
You are not required to pay an attorney In Oregon, the attorney is paid from the estate assets. In a small estate such as your father's there is probably not enough money to compensate the attorney for her services, however the court has to approve the rate based on the size of the estate.
You may want to go to legal aid, or call the Oregon bar for a referral to an attorney who could give you some direction on how to handle a small estate.
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I'm sorry to hear about the death of your father. In addition to what has been posted, I would add that you need to understand what the situation is and what a death certificate does. The situation is that your father held assets, modest though they may be, at the time of his death. Those assets are now part of his estate. Even though he has died, those assets are still "his" until something happens to change the legal ownership of those assets from his estate to someone else. A death certificate does not do that. A death certificate confirms that someone has died and provides information regarding the person who died. That's it. If there is no other lawful way to transfer assets from the estate of the person who has died to someone else, then the court, either through a small estate or a probate proceeding, has the authority to make that transfer happen. I would consult an attorney experienced in Oregon probate law regarding a small estate. Then, you can decide how you may wish to proceed.
I am sorry for your loss. If your father's only asset was the bank account in question, Oregon has a third option not mentioned here. Under the Oregon Banking Act, ORS 708A.430, upon the death of a depositor (your father) with an account under $25,000.00, the financial institution may, upon receipt of an affidavit from the person claiming the deposit pay the moneys on deposit to a spouse or surviving children. The financial institution should be able to help you complete the affidavit.
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