Seattle, WA asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Oregon

Q: My Mother died had no will. One sister States she is “in charge” giving her access to the house/car.What should I do?

I do not believe she has any documents

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1 Lawyer Answer
Joanne Reisman
Joanne Reisman
  • Estate Planning Lawyer
  • Portland, OR
  • Licensed in Oregon

A: This was posted as an Oregon Law question so my answer pertains to Oregon Law: There is no document that gives someone control over an estate when there is no will. She is probably talking about a Power of Attorney but the Power of Attorney is extinguished when the principle dies. There are Oregon Laws which create a substitute for a Will and dictate how property is to be distributed. Another Oregon Law lists who is eligible to apply to be in charge of the estate, either through a small estate affidavit or a full probate. But not all estates need a formal administration. Sometimes things just fall into place and life goes on. Talk to an Attorney about what if anything you need to do to finalize your mother's affairs.

(It is also possible that your mother left her property to your sister by putting her name on documents of title such that she became the owner by survivorship. An Attorney can also help you figure this out.)

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