Providing for Spouse or Partner
There are several techniques that may be used to ensure that your spouse or partner is protected after your death. These may include gifting by will or trust and during your lifetime. Oregon law includes provisions for lawfully married partners that may prevent you from totally disinheriting a spouse.
Providing for Minor Children
A will or trust may nominate a person to serve as guardian of a minor child. If you do not make this selection, the choice will be solely up to a court without the benefit of your input. You may also provide that money and other property for the minor child be held in a trust, managed by a conservator or distributed under an Oregon law that regulates gifts to minors. Each of these options has certain advantages and disadvantages.
Providing for Pets
Under Oregon law, pets are treated like property and may be disposed of by will or trust. You may make gifts to friends or family or in trust in order to provide for your pets.
Minimizing Probate Expenses
Probate is a useful device for resolving disputes and distributing property after you die, but probate can be expensive. Techniques to minimize probate expenses after your death include making lifetime gifts, simplifying gifts made in a will and using a living trust.
To a certain extent avoiding estate taxes is fairly simple – ensure the value of your taxable estate on the date of your death is less than $5 million for federal taxes and $1 million for state taxes. To make this happen gifts can be made to a spouse tax free, lifetime gifts may be or you can spend your money. If you have concerns about federal estate taxes your goal should be to minimize the taxes paid and ensure sufficient funds will be available to pay any tax due. These issues will involve your accountant and perhaps an insurance broker in addition to your attorney.
Protecting a Family Business
A family business can be the largest single asset in an estate. The value of that business may be lost when management of the company is divided or transferred or when assets must be sold to pay estate expenses. Ensuring that a business continues and that management remains in the correct hands are important concerns.