What is Probate?
Probate is a legal process whereby a court oversees the distribution of assets left by a deceased person according to the deceased person's will or through intestate succession. Assets are anything a person owns with value, such as real estate and personal property. Probate clears the titles to stocks, bonds, other securities and cars; officially puts real estate into the name of the person who inherited it; and stops others, including creditors, from claiming any of the property after the probate ends.
Probate is not always necessary. If the deceased person owned bank accounts or property with another person, the surviving co-owner often will then own that property automatically. If a person dies leaving very few assets, such as personal belongings or household goods, these items can be distributed among the rightful beneficiaries without the supervision of the court. Estate planning, including Living Trusts, Payment on Death Accounts, and Transfer on Death Deeds, may help avoid Probate. For more information, please see the Oregon State Bar website or consult an Attorney.
In Umatilla and Morrow Counties, the Probate Department also handles related matters including Guardianship and Conservatorship for minors and incapacitated persons.
At this time, only the forms listed below are available through Umatilla and Morrow County Circuit Courts. If you need other forms, you may inquire at a local stationery store or hire an attorney to assist you.