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FAQs on Probate

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) and Answers


Why do I need probate?

This is not a simple question since each case is unique. You may want to speak with an attorney regarding Oregon probate law and what is involved with the estate of a deceased person.

Probate is the process of transferring the property of a deceased person to others after locating assets and paying debts.  Sometimes property can be transferred without probate through a less expensive process called an Affidavit of Claiming Successor or Small Estate Affidavit.


My __________ died; do I need to file something with the Court?

You may need to file an estate depending on the circumstances and the assets of the decedent.  The court is not able to determine your need to file an estate.  It can be helpful to consult an attorney for legal advice.  Call the Oregon State Bar Referral line at (800) 452-7636 for the name of an attorney in your area.  In addition, the Lane County Law Library is located in the basement of the Lane County Courthouse and is open to the public.  You can look there for helpful publications and information.


My __________ died and we cannot find the will.  Has it been filed with the Court?

The court will have the will only if an estate proceeding has been filed or if the will was filed for safekeeping. You may contact the Probate Department by phone at (541) 682-4255 to see if the will has been filed or is involved in an estate proceeding.


Where do I get the forms?

You can obtain the necessary forms from an attorney, a stationery store, or a bookstore that sells legal documents.


How much does probate cost?

It depends on the type of case.  There are specific court filing fees required.  If you have an attorney, you need to discuss the costs of her/his services and go over the various filing fees.


Can I file a will while I'm still living?

Yes. Anyone who is 18 years of age or older, or has been lawfully married, and is of sound mind, may make a will. A will can be filed with the court before death. There is a $8.00 filing fee. Additionally, once filed, a will cannot be returned.


How do I object to a will?

You should file the appropriate paperwork to contest a will. You may want to contact an attorney for more information.  Or you may research the subject yourself at the Lane County Law Library under the Oregon Revised Statutes or other applicable rules.