After losing a loved one in Oregon, a common concern that you and others who may have an interest in their estate may have is what they stipulated in your will. A greater (and unfortunately just as valid) concern should be whether they had a will at all. Studies have shown that only about 40 percent of American adults actually have a will (with percentages being less among younger demographics). This may be due to many believing that estate planning is meant to be done later in life, while others may simply be afraid of offending beneficiaries with their decisions. Whatever the reason why your loved one may have not left a will, you should know how the state handles those who die intestate. 

“Intestate” is the word applied to estate cases where no will exists. If your loved one left behind a surviving spouse yet had not lineal descendants, then Oregon’s intestate succession law stipulates that the surviving spouse inherits their entire estate. Yet if they did have descendants, Section 112.025 of Oregon’s Revised Statutes says that the surviving spouse’s ownership of the estate is reduced to one-half its total value if the descendants are not biologically related to them (if they are, then the surviving spouse retains full ownership of the estate). 

If your loved one was not survived by a spouse, then their intestate estate would pass as follows: 

  • To their descendants 
  • To their parents 
  • To their siblings (and their descendants) 
  • To their grandparents (split equally between their paternal and maternal kindred) 

You can that state law does not afford one who is not directly related to a decedent any right of inheritance under intestate succession guidelines.