If you and/or your spouse have non-joint children, that is to say, children who are not children of both of you, you need to know that if you die without a Will, the laws of intestacy in Oregon will result in half of your probate assets being divided equally among ALL of your children (including joint children), regardless how old the children are. In other words, ALL of your children will get a share of your probate assets when you die, not just the non-joint children, if you do not have a will, and you have children who are not also children of your spouse.
For children who are under 18, conservatorships will generally have to be established.
When the children turn 18, the money will come to them, without any safeguards or limitations on what it can be used for, or how it can be spent.
If you are married and have non-joint children, and you die without a Will, half of your probate assets will go to your surviving spouse.
You can adjust these percentages, and you can place other restrictions on when the money is disbursed, or what the money can be used for, with a proper estate plan.
This plan might be as simple as just a Will in some cases, or it might include a Trust built into the Will (a Testamentary Trust) that would only spring into effect on certain circumstances, or it could even be a complex Trust based plan that would provide for a variety of contingencies.
Steven A. Heinrich
Divorce & Custody
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