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Can I name a nonrelated person in my will?

On Behalf of | Jul 11, 2023 | Estate Planning |

Usually, when preparing for our future, we think of those closest to us—our immediate family and relatives. But for some, family might not be on top of the list when making decisions. This can be because of personal reasons or simply because there are no family members at all. This very scenario happens in estate planning, such as during the creation of a will. And since naming family and relatives in the will is conventional, some people wonder if it is possible to name someone nonrelated in their wills.

No prohibition to the practice

As long as the will follows Oregon laws on wills, a testator can name any person as the beneficiary of their estate properties in their will, even those who are not blood-related to them. The inheritor can also be a charity.

Having a spouse makes a difference

Note, however, that if you are married, Oregon laws protect your spouse’s right to claim a part of your estate. This means the testator cannot disinherit their spouse unless they sign an agreement waiving their right to claim a share of the testator’s estate.

Look out for will contests

If you name a friend or a charity in your will, despite having surviving children and relatives, there is an increased chance that they will challenge the document’s validity. While they cannot invoke unfairness, they might find a hole in your will to question its validity. This includes lack of testamentary requirements, fraud, coercion and undue influence. You must carefully draft your will according to Oregon’s requirements to avoid complications like will contests.

Conceptualizing your estate distribution plans is one thing. Drafting the will for it is another. A will creates a significant impact on your assets and loved ones, so it is essential that you meticulously curate it.