Modern Family Matters

The ABC’s of a Last Will and Testament: Simplifying Estate Planning

May 19, 2021 with Triston Dallas Season 1 Episode 27
Modern Family Matters
The ABC’s of a Last Will and Testament: Simplifying Estate Planning
Chapters
Modern Family Matters
The ABC’s of a Last Will and Testament: Simplifying Estate Planning
May 19, 2021 Season 1 Episode 27
with Triston Dallas

Attorney, Triston Dallas, breaks down all of the important components of one of the most common estate planning documents: a last will and testament. Triston and Steve answer the following in this episode:

·         What is a will?

·         What makes a will legally valid?

·         How is a will legally executed and witnessed?

·         What different components can be included in a will?

·         What are the roles of a guardian and custodian?

·         Where should a will be stored, and how often does it need to be updated?

·         Can a will be contested, and if so, who is able to contest?

·         ...and much more!

If you would like to speak with one of our family law attorneys, please call our office at (503) 227-0200 or visit our website at https://www.pacificcascadefamilylaw.com/

Disclaimer: Nothing in this communication is intended to provide legal advice nor does it constitute a client-attorney relationship, therefore you should not interpret the contents as such.

Show Notes Transcript

Attorney, Triston Dallas, breaks down all of the important components of one of the most common estate planning documents: a last will and testament. Triston and Steve answer the following in this episode:

·         What is a will?

·         What makes a will legally valid?

·         How is a will legally executed and witnessed?

·         What different components can be included in a will?

·         What are the roles of a guardian and custodian?

·         Where should a will be stored, and how often does it need to be updated?

·         Can a will be contested, and if so, who is able to contest?

·         ...and much more!

If you would like to speak with one of our family law attorneys, please call our office at (503) 227-0200 or visit our website at https://www.pacificcascadefamilylaw.com/

Disclaimer: Nothing in this communication is intended to provide legal advice nor does it constitute a client-attorney relationship, therefore you should not interpret the contents as such.

Intro:

Welcome to Modern Family Matters, a podcast devoted to exploring family law topics that matter most to you. Covering a wide range of legal, personal, and family law matters, with expert analysis from skilled attorneys and professional guests, we hope that our podcast provides answers, clarity, and guidance towards a better tomorrow for you and your family. Here's your host, Steve Altishin.

 

Steve Altishin  0:31  

Good morning. My name is Steve Altishin, I'm the Director of Client Partnerships here at Landerholm Family Law. Today I'm here with our lead estate planning attorney, Triston Dallas, to talk about wills. How are you doing Triston?

 

Triston Dallas  0:45  

I'm doing well. Thanks for having me again, as always. I hope you're doing well there, Steve.

 

Steve Altishin  0:49  

Well, I am, and looking at the end of the tunnel. You know, we're finally, I think, coming around. So today Triston, talking about wills, there seems to be this shroud of mystery that surrounds wills, you know? The legal phrases, the Latin terminology; I mean, even the name-- the last will and testament. So today, let's cut through all of that and try to make wills much more understandable for everyone, including me. And with that, let's just start with the basics. What is a will?

 

Triston Dallas  1:27  

Yeah. You know, we've done a couple of these webinars, and Facebook Lives and podcasts and educational broadcasts over the last several months. And we've talked about so many different issues that include the will, right? We talked about the issue of blended families and issues with retirement, and those sorts of things. But we never really break down just the bare basics of what is the will. And as you ask, it's funny because people look at it and think it's just the document. And at the end of the day, it kind of is-- a will is going to be a legal document, or a legal agreement, so to speak, that an individual can use to determine how their property is going to be distributed at their death, and how their assets or their affairs are handled, how their estate is handled, at their death. And what I mean by that is, it's not just saying, 'Hey, my son gets my coin collection and my daughter gets X,Y and Z and everything else goes to my wife', it's more than that. It will also give the individual an opportunity to lay out how their assets could go to their children if they're under age. It can list how their assets are used to pay back creditors and debt at their death. So there are several things that are possible within a will; it's more than just who gets what and how. It does get a little bit more in depth than that. But breaking it all down, and funnelig it all down to one thing, it's going to be a document that is going to be provided to the court in the event of your passing.

 

Steve Altishin  3:14  

Let's start on that then-- a document, like you said, a legal document that's presented to the court. So what makes a will, I guess I'd say legally valid. What makes a will ready to be presented and legally enforceable? 

 

Triston Dallas  3:35  

Yeah, it's relatively straightforward. It needs to be in writing. It needs to be that the person whose will it is must have legal capacity to make a will when they made it. And it must be executed properly under the state rules. And really that just means that the person, we won't get into the full detail or all the exceptions along with that, but basically, the individual who's will it is needs to sign the will and the will needs to be witnessed by at least two other individuals that are not the person signing the will, or not the person who's will it is. That's the basics of what makes your will valid and ready for presentation to court for probate in the event of your passing.

 

Steve Altishin  4:22  

You're saying that a person has to have legal capacity. And I know that's probably a legal term of art, can we talked a little bit about what legal capacity means? ,

 

Triston Dallas  4:36  

Yeah, and that honestly could be a whole other podcast or Facebook Live event itself. Simply, legal capacity just means that you're 18 or older, and you're not incapacitated mentally or potentially physically in some way that would cause them to question your ability to understand what is being written in the document, or what has been the terms of the documents. So if you have some type of mental illness, if you're hospitalized in some way, obviously if you're unconscious in some way, there's no way that you would know anything that's in the document. But also something like, call to question if somebody was inebriated, whether it be alcohol or some other type of drug; that potentially could call the capacity of the individual to make the will. So yeah, I mean, like I said, there are a lot of other things that could actually go into it. But basically, that's what you're looking for.

 

Steve Altishin  5:32  

You just kind of have to know what you're doing.

 

Triston Dallas  5:35  

Yeah, you have to just be able to, it's clear, and make sure that somebody couldn't say that you didn't understand what you were doing at the time you were executing or making your will. And it's different from somebody who-- you can have a mental illness, or you can have some other type of illness, or dealing with some other type of ailment, and that doesn't mean that your legal capacity is diminished, or at a point where you are unable, legally, to make a will. But that is kind of the basis in which legal capacity can be questioned.

 

Steve Altishin  6:08  

Well, that makes sense. So the second thing you said was it has to be executed. And I know, a lot of people when you look at a will and at the end, it seems like there are 42 different lines for people to sign multiple times. So can you tell us a little bit about legally executed and witnessed; just talk about what that's all about what the basics are that are involved in it?

 

Triston Dallas  6:35  

Yep. So whoevers will it is, they need to sign the document. And then contemporaneously, the two witnesses have to witness the actual testator, that's the person whose will it is, sign the document. They have to actually watch them sign it. Or, there's another rule, it can be signed in advance, and then acknowledge that that's their signature, and that they signed it in front of the witnesses. And then contemporaneously, or at another time, the witnesses will sign an affidavit that just states that they actually witnessed the testator sign the document. And that becomes what is called, basically, self-proving. And we won't get into the details of all of that. But otherwise, what may need to happen is, without the affidavit of the witnesses, then those witnesses are going to need to be tracked down so they can make a statement in court for probate the state that they actually witnessed the testator sign the will. So the simplest way is just that you need to have witnesses at the time you signed the document, and they will need to attest to their witnessing of your signature. And that's basically it.

 

Steve Altishin  7:49  

So the attesting part, is that where it generally gets notarized?

 

Triston Dallas  7:55  

Yeah, so the witnesses signatures will be notarized as to their attestation of witnessing the testator's signature.

 

Steve Altishin  8:06  

And I think you said that that makes it so that it can be sent to court and the court can use that affidavit to sort of acknowledge that this thing actually happened. That makes sense. The one thing I'm thinking about is that, you know, in a lot of cases, pretty much everybody who had anything to do with the will, obviously the person who wrote it, quite possibly all the witnesses, and even the lawyer who was involved, are all dead. So having that document is really all you've got left sometimes to kind of show that it really happened. That makes sense. That gets me to a question that everybody asks, it's one of those old fashioned arcane terms: a holographic will. You hear people ask, 'Well hold it, if someone just signs it in handwriting, doesn't that just make it valid?'

 

Triston Dallas  9:05  

Yeah. So again, I won't get into the details of all the exceptions, but there was a rule that was added in Oregon law within the last couple of years in terms of if the proper execution of will does not happen, there's still potentially a way to admit the will into probate. We'll talk about briefly what probate is towards the end of our broadcast here, but ideally, and technically, just having a will and then you signing it, is not really enough to make it a valid will. And so then other steps need to happen in order to get the court to believe or to accept it as a proper will. And just because you write the will, doesn't mean that that's it. And so, like I said, we'll talk a little bit about probate later, but the court has to accept the will. And with the attestation that we talked about before, and the "self proving", it makes things easier and almost automatic on that front. Now, I'm relatively younger and I haven't been--

 

Steve Altishin  10:15  

--Well, everyone's relatively younger than me!

 

Triston Dallas  10:20  

I haven't-- you know, holographic and all that-- that's just not something that is done nowadays.

 

Steve Altishin  10:27  

Yeah, that was one of the old myths, you know? You can write a will, stick it in your drawer, and as long as it was in your handwriting, it had to be good. So we've got the idea of what makes a will valid, and how you sign it. Now let's get to what's in a will. What sorts of things are in a will? What's required to be in a will? And maybe also is it required for some of the other things that are typically put in wills?

 

Triston Dallas  11:04  

Yeah. So at the end of the day, for the most part, your will doesn't have to have any specific type of terms other than it's clear as to whose will it is, and that they're creating this will with the legal capacity that we talked about previously. Other than that, for the most part, there isn't anything specific that needs to be in the will. Now there are some typical and regular clauses that you're going to have in the will. Things like, you're going to nominate for your personal representative or executor. You're going to make some declaration in terms of if you're married, if you have children, that type of thing. And then you can make specific gifts by saying like, Bob gets x and Susan gets x and john gets x--you can make those types of designations. And then, if you want to be pretty simple, you can make a blatant residual, or residue, gifting through the will and just say, 'Everything that I own after expenses and creditors are paid is going to go to X, Y & Z.' So you have some freedom there. And like I talked about earlier, those are the things that typically you'll find in a will, but it can be more than just who's getting what.

 

Steve Altishin  12:35  

Sometimes in a will, I see a term, 'I hereby revoke any previous will'. Is there a reason that's in there?

 

Triston Dallas  12:43  

Yeah. And a lot of times, especially as you get older, obviously you're going to look at your will, you're going to have updates and changes, rewrites and all that. And so what you don't want is a situation where you have two wills, and neither of them have been revoked. And now there's a question as to which one is going to roll. Now, generally, you would think well, I have one written in 2021, and I have one that was written in 1991. But your one in 2021 doesn't state that it revokes the previous will. Now you may have some continuity issues, as one may conflict with the other. And so normally, you would want to have some type of language in the will that states you revoke all previous wills or codicils so that it's clear that the newer will that you're writing and that you're executing is the only will that's going to rule in the event of your passing.

 

Steve Altishin  13:42  

That makes sense. It seems like, again, clarity is really one of the fundamental things you need to get done in a will, so that there aren't these questions once you're gone.

 

Triston Dallas  13:55  

Yeah, yeah. Yeah. You want to be broad to cover as many things as possible and based on your wishes. And you know, everybody's gonna be different. But yeah, you're right, you want to remove all confusion for as many things as possible.

 

Steve Altishin  14:10  

Let's talk a little bit about, you mentioned that you need someone to kind of administer your estate. I know that the old fashioned, common term is an executor. And in Oregon, they call it a personal representative. Tell us a little bit about what you're doing by nominating a personal representative and what they do.

 

Triston Dallas  14:32  

Yeah, yeah. So you can nominate pretty much anyone to be a personal representative. It doesn't have to be a spouse or your child, or family member or anything like that. It can be anybody. They just have to be over the age of 18 generally, can't be someone that's like a felon or anything like that as well. But a personal representative, at the end of the day, their main objective is to administer and manage your estate through probate in the event of your passing. So they're going to alert the court as to all the assets that are in your estate, they're going to be the one that's going to have to alert any creditors of your passing, give the creditor an opportunity to kind of make a claim, if there is one. They pay back your creditors, file your final taxes for the estate, and then do a final distribution of all your assets based upon your will and the court rules. And so it's a job that will last you know, four months to however long. Sometimes some probates can go very long. Some probates can be relatively short, depending how streamlined things are in the estate. But like I said, at the end of the day, their job is just to manage the estate. They are a fiduciary, so there are specific rules and powers that they have, and things they need to follow, just to make sure they don't do anything incorrect. And when going through probate, the personal representative usually can work and will work with an attorney, and the attorney will be able to walk them through the entire process and help them through everything. So they're not necessarily flying blind.

 

Steve Altishin  16:06  

When I think of a fiduciary, that's an important kind of thing, as you talked about. Are there any issues then with a personal representative either being a witness to the will or being a beneficiary in the will? Are they somehow restricted? Or do they have be someone off completely on their own? Or what?

 

Triston Dallas  16:24  

Yeah, so no, not inherently. The personal representative can also be a beneficiary. Their requirements, and the fiduciary obligations of a personal representative, aren't diminished or lessened because they are a beneficiary. They still have to do things as if they weren't a beneficiary. They still have to take care of all the other beneficiaries that  may be part of the will. And generally, a beneficiary of a will or an estate, on its face, inherently, doesn't necessarily invalidate a will if they were witness to it. If there's some other factual evidence to state that maybe there was some coercion or something along those lines, then you may have a question as to the validity of the will, and the signing of the will by the testate. But just because they did sign it doesn't necessarily mean that the will is invalid. Now from a practicing standpoint, and just my own kind of personal practicing philosophies, I tend to not recommend that a beneficiary be a witness, just so you can avoid those questions. And it goes back to the same thing we talked about earlier--remove all confusion, if possible. And so if the beneficiary never signed, and wasn't ever a witness, then there's never gonna be a question, from that perspective, that the beneficiary had some coercion or forcefulness for the testater.

 

Steve Altishin  17:58  

Yeah, that seems like a great idea. So we talked about different kinds of requests, which are basically the way the property gets distributed. And you mentioned specific requests. Can you make a list? Is it like, here's a list of stuff that goes to Johnny, and here's a list of stuff that goes to Jane?

 

Triston Dallas  18:26  

Yeah, yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. And that's not an issue. Sometimes, you know, you'll add photographs and other things to make sure it's clear and indicated as to what you're actually providing. You're not going to be able to do something like, 'Everything in my bedroom will go to this person'. That may work, but you want to be able to list items. And like I said, make it clear as to what the item is and who it's going to. So again, there's no confusion. There's no question by the court or anybody else. So you can absolutely make lists of specific things. It could be for personal property, it could be for vehicles, it could be for real property you own. You can make any specific gifts you would like. As long as that transfer is not an illegal transfer, there are no issues.

 

Steve Altishin  19:17  

You talked about residuary requests, can you talk a little more on that? Because it seems like if you name specific items for everyone to take, and then some other item comes in, and you haven't made some provision for that, what the heck would happen to that? How does that kind of fit into this residuary request? 

 

Triston Dallas  19:42  

Any asset that isn't specifically requested or specifically gifted in your will, will fall into the residuary. Then you need to list a beneficiary of the residue of your estate, and then that beneficiary will inherit. It can be more than one person, it can be several people. It also doesn't necessarily have to be equal. It could be a percentage where, you know, two people inherit 40%. And then you have one person that inherits 20%. And then, at that point, it's just on them or another personal representative to figure out how exactly that's going to be split up. So the percentages work. But really, it's just everything you didn't specifically name in the will, to show that it's going to fall within the residuary and pass that way. So you don't name a specific person to receive something. It could be like a vehicle. You didn't name a vehicle that's going to go to a specific person, but you own a couple of, let's say it's classic vehicles, and you have two children. And you just say that your children are going to inherit from your residuary entirely equally. Well, then it's possible that the kids can each get one vehicle. And that's a very simplified example. But because you didn't name a specific person, then it will fall under that residue of your estate.

 

Steve Altishin  20:58  

You mentioned percentages, which made me think of a question. Let's say you leave 50% to your two kids as your residuary clause, but you've also got some specific bequests. Are those specific bequests dealt with first, and then they get 50% of the rest of it? Or does that 50% somehow include the value of that?

 

Triston Dallas  21:23  

The best way to look at residuary is that you're going to take specific gifts into account first, and then paying off any creditors and expenses of the estate, and then everything else from that will fall into the residuary or the residue of the estate. And then whoever is the beneficiary, or if there are multiple, they'll get their share out that.

 

Steve Altishin  21:46  

Got it. So what happens if one of your beneficiaries dies before the will is done? Is there something that goes into the will that kind of discusses that kind of a situation?

 

Triston Dallas  22:06  

Yeah, yeah, there is. So you can have a clause, and more times than not, you'll want to make some designation like this, especially if you have children, and they have grandchildren and those types of things. You can make a designation. And, again, I won't go into details, but the phrase is, "with or without representation". And so the best way to explain this is, let's say you have three children, and you're going to give the residue of your estate to each of them equally. So they're going to get 33%, roughly. Now, if you leave it to them with the right of representation, then if they were to pass away before you do, their share--their 33%--will then be split amongst their children. If you decide to move without the right of representation, then the share of  your child who passed away will then be split amongst the other two siblings that are still alive. And so you kind of have this ability to keep a specific share in a lane, and then it will go down to their heirs, if they have any. Now, if you list that it as with the right representation, and there are no heirs, then it still may possibly fall to the other siblings. But you have some ability to kind of keep a specific share of your estate within a specific lane of children, or whoever it may be, but children just to give the example. And then a situation that happens sometimes is, let's say you leave everything to your spouse, but you and your spouse may pass away at the same time in like a horrific accident. You would ideally have some clause that just designates or explains, in the event of a simultaneous death, who will be ruled as passing away first, just for administrative purposes. And it makes things a little bit easier, because then you don't necessarily have to go back and forth and argue as to how the court should administer the estates. Because if the spouse is supposed to receive everything, and then it goes to x, y and z, and then on the opposite side, you know, if husband passed away first, and it goes to wife, and wife has specific designations under her will that are different from husbands, then it creates some confusion and maybe some contention between other family members or people who think they may receive less, if you don't have that type of clause to just explain that if both of us pass away, then husband will be viewed as pre-deceasing wife for administrative purposes. So again, it gets rid of that confusion we talked about earlier.

 

Steve Altishin  24:48  

But it also, I think, saves money. I remember in the old days, there used to be battles over this because I mean, if there was like an automobile accident, there'd be litigation on which of the couple died first because it saves a whole estate from having to be probated and taxed and then doing it again.

 

Triston Dallas  25:16  

Yeah, well, I mean, in these situations, especially in this day and age with the divorce rate being as high as it is,  you're likely going to deal with a blended family. And if the husbands will states that more of his estate, or the residue of his estate, is going to go towards his children, as opposed to maybe his wife's children, and they both pass away at the same time, and it's viewed that wife is potentially going to have passed away first and all of her estate is supposed to go to husband, then it's possible that the wife's children could be disinherited, in a sense. And so you're right, it will avoid a lot of litigation, with proper planning. Obviously, that one clause is not going to save everything. You would want to do additional things within your will. But it's something that can be done, just to avoid some confusion.

 

Steve Altishin  26:11  

Okay, let's move. You mentioned minor children. I know there's probably several issues in your will that can touch that. I know that naming a guardian for your children sometimes does that. What does that really mean?

 

Triston Dallas  26:27  

Well, it's important to note that just because you name a guardian in your will, it doesn't necessarily mean that that's exactly who the individual will be who may watch your children, if they're under age, and you pass away. We cannot pass children on to other individuals like property. And I'm sure everybody can understand why that's the case. But in the event that the child is in need of a guardian, and you are clearly the custodial parent, and there's no other parent that's still alive, then the court will try to heed your wishes as to this individual who is going to be the person to watch over your children. Now, the person still has to qualify, right? So they still have to qualify under the Oregon rules as to being a guardian, and being somebody that can actually watch the children. They have to have enough of resources, or the ability to actually watch children in their home, etc, etc., and not have a felony record, that type of thing. So they still have to qualify, but you can nominate individuals that you trust and believe could watch your children in the event that something happens to you and your spouse.

 

Steve Altishin  27:42  

Which kind of leads into leaving minor children money. How does that work?

 

Triston Dallas  27:51  

So if you leave minor children money, then in those situations, you can list what is called a custodian. And a custodian, its whole purpose is just to watch over whatever funds or assets you left for your minor child until they become of age, at a specific age-- 18, 21, 22-- it kind of depends on how it's listed and what you decide. And essentially that money, or whatever it is, is going to sit in their account, or it's going to sit somewhere and it's not going to be touched or used or done anything with without specific reason or without instruction. Until, like I said, the child reaches a specific age. You can do some other things as well and create some type of trust or testamentary trust as an alternative, or on top of, but generally, to get over something like that, you can create a custodian. And it's different from a guardian, because your guardian is literally watching the child, and the child's welfare. The custodian itself is literally just making sure that these funds, or whatever it is, are safe, and will be ready for the child once they reach a certain age.

 

Steve Altishin  29:03  

I know on some of our past broadcasts, we've talked about the difference between wills and trusts and what they are, what they do, and what their purpose is and the strategies. But I guess the question is, can you put a trust into a will?

 

Triston Dallas  29:20  

Yeah, you can. And that's what I mentioned earlier. That's a testamentary trust, and just states that a share or part of your estate, whether it be a residuary or some other type of specific gifts, can be placed in a trust for an individual like a minor child. And that trust isn't "alive". It doesn't come in existence until the testator becomes non-existent. And so it will essentially just sit dormant until the administration of your estate, and then once probate is completed and distributions are made, that distribution will be made into the trust that you have put in within the will itself. So it's a good hybrid type of option that some families will use if they don't want to create and manage a living trust now.

 

Steve Altishin  30:12  

So we've talked about all kinds of things, and all kinds of provisions you can put in your will, and it kind of sounds like some of them will be followed, as long as everything's done legally. And some of them may be followed because they're like wishes, but that doesn't necessarily mean that they will happen. And it seems like it's important to know the difference between those two when you're making a will.

 

Triston Dallas  30:39  

Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely.

 

Steve Altishin  30:41  

So then, you made your will. And the question kind of becomes-- it's an important document, it may speak on its own years from now-- do you have any advice on what people should do, once they've made their will, with their will?

 

Triston Dallas  30:57  

Yeah, yeah. So obviously, you want to keep it in a safe place. There are alternative ways to present a will to the court in the event of your passing, if the original's not there. But again, we want to remove all confusion. So we want to keep the original in a safe place. So that could be with your attorney, it could be if you've got a safe or safe deposit box, or anything like that. You want to keep that safe. And then normally, if the client is the one that holds the original, the attorney will have a copy, just in case that is absolutely needed. But yeah, you want to be able to keep the original safe with you, so you know where it is at all times. And then, if there's ever any updates, let's say you have a codicil or something like that, then you want to make sure that that document gets added to the rest of your documents, as well, in a safe place. And in some respects you could record the will and the county in which you live. But that's not necessarily a super common occurrence, but it's very possible.

 

Steve Altishin  32:01  

You briefly mentioned updating. We've talked about this on past broadcasts, but maybe you could just kind of quickly run through this again. What are the highlights? You know, how often does a will need to be updated?

 

Triston Dallas  32:15  

I would say every three to five years, you want to at least just look at it. I'm not saying you need to go and call your attorney again, or do anything. Just look at it, and make sure everything still makes sense, and the things that you have there, you still own, and that there haven't been any significant changes. And then, as always, it's any major life change. You have a new child, you decided to retire, you buy new real estate or sell previous real estate, the death of someone in your family, whether it be a spouse or a child, maybe even grandchildren. Make time there to look at everything and potentially update it. So yeah, major life changes for an individual is going to make it really important to look over your will. You get an inheritance, you get a divorce, you get remarried; for all of those things, you want to look at your estate plan and your will just because that life change may require you to make a change in your documents, depending on how it was drafted and depending on your wishes. 

 

Steve Altishin  33:26  

One last thing. You talked a little bit earlier about wills and probates. So, you're not just making a will and having it be valid and all that stuff. That's not really the end story, is it? I mean, you can't just take a will when someone dies and go out and run with it and do stuff. It doesn't automatically transfer property, does it?

 

Triston Dallas  33:50  

Right. Right. Right. You're correct. So just because the wills written and it's valid and it's executed and it's been witnessed, and the witnesses attest to the signatures and all that, doesn't necessarily mean that the person represented, because they're listed on there, can then just be like, 'Well, this person is supposed to receive X, this person was supposed to receive X, and then the residuary goes to their children.' You can't then just start giving them things. The estate and the will will need to be probated. Essentially, that means you have to petition a court, which is a specific document that goes to the court that says: this individual has passed away, this individual is being listed as personal representative within the will, here is the copy of the original will, we need to open a probate for the estate so we can begin to distribute the assets and manage the the estate per the will and per Oregon laws. And the court has to accept all those things before that can happen. And there's a myriad of things that happen within probate, and maybe that will be another topic we can talk about, but generally within the probate process, the court accepts the will is valid. And then the personal representative, who takes and accepts that role, will make sure that the creditors are paid, and their last final taxes of the estate are paid. And then once all the expenses and all the creditors are paid, and after specific other things that have happened--this is just a simplified version-- but after all that is paid, then a distribution will be made to all the beneficiaries and individuals who are going to inherit from the residue of the estate. At that point then, the probate would close and then the personal representative role is complete, and then the will's wishes are completed. 

 

Steve Altishin  35:37  

Well, we're running out of time and coming to our conclusion. This was wonderful. I am going to ask you one last, real quick question. You can just use a yes or no at this one, because I get this all the time. Can I put a clause in my will that says if anyone contests it, they're out? We used to call this the terror clause!

 

Triston Dallas  35:57  

Yeah. Yeah. I mean, it's not something I see too often. What I will say is it's possible, but it's something else that's just gonna be contested, especially cause it's gonna be like children. And it doesn't necessarily mean, I won't say it's guaranteed, that it's just going to stand as is. But you know, I've never had to write a clause like that into any estate plan that I've done, but as far as I know, it can be done. I've just never seen the kind of outcomes of those types of issues.

 

Steve Altishin  36:28  

That's kind of a blast from the past.

 

Triston Dallas  36:32  

Yeah. You are able to disinherit people, but I would choose a different way to do it.

 

Steve Altishin  36:36  

Yep. So, Triston, thanks again for joining us today and demystifying just what the heck, wills are all about. Your insight into the world of estates is impeccable, and your ability to make this complicated stuff understandable is really much appreciated. Thank you.

 

Triston Dallas  36:58  

Thank you. Thanks for having me. Glad to be here, as always.

 

Steve Altishin  37:01  

You bet, and I look forward to next time. So I also want to thank everyone else who tuned in today to our Facebook Live. Again, if anyone has a question about what we talked about today or about getting a hold of Triston and having a consultation, you can post it here, or you can shoot me an email at [email protected] And until next time, everyone, stay safe. Have a great day.

 

Outro:

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