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Probate Unit

Our Probate Unit handles protective proceedings such as Guardianships and Conservatorships and, in part, is a legal process whereby a court oversees the distribution of assets left by a deceased person.  Assets are anything a person owns with value such as real and personal property and cash. 

*Sometimes probate is needed to:

  • Clear title to land, stocks and bonds, or large bank or savings and loan accounts that were held in the name of the deceased person only, and put the title to these assets in the names of the rightful beneficiaries.
  • Collect debts owed to the deceased person.
  • Settle a dispute between people who claim they are entitled to assets of the deceased person.
  • Resolve any disputes about the validity of the deceased person’s will.
* Oregon allows an abbreviated procedure for handling small estates that would otherwise require a full probate. If an estate fits in this category, the cost and time for distributing the estate assets may be greatly reduced. The procedure involves filing a document called an “affidavit of claiming successor.” This abbreviated procedure can be used if the estate’s personal property is valued at no more than $75,000 and real property is valued at no more than $200,000, for a total aggregate estate value of no more than $275,000. (These rates are accurate as of April 2016, but can be changed by the state legislature. Please see an attorney or advisor to ensure that they are still accurate.) Real property includes land and buildings or structures placed on land, such as houses, commercial buildings and agricultural buildings. Personal property includes all other property, such as cars, boats, clothing, stocks, bonds and personal items. 
*excerpts from Oregon State Bar 

Helpful Documents


Additional forms may be found in the statewide Forms Center.

While court staff can provide general information about court procedures, ORS 9.160 prohibits court staff from giving legal advice. If you need legal advice, please contact an attorney.