Portland, OR asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Oregon

Q: My mom named the youngest sibling the executor of her will. Can he do what he wants with the property?

There are 3 siblings and the youngest was named executor. She listed a few things that were to go to each of us in her will. I'm curious as to what happens with her real estate as it wasn't mentioned to whom it goes to. She wasn't married at time of death. Does the executor get to keep it? I believe the executor also got the retirement account as it wasn't mentioned in the will either.

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1 Lawyer Answer
Vincent J. Bernabei
Vincent J. Bernabei
  • Estate Planning Lawyer
  • Beaverton, OR
  • Licensed in Oregon

A: A personal representative (or executor) is someone who handles the deceased person’s affairs. A will generally names a personal representative who, if willing to serve and otherwise qualified, will be approved by the probate court.

If your mother owned the real estate in her individual name, the real estate is subject to probate. Probate is not always necessary. If the real property was owned with another person, the surviving co-owner often will then own that property automatically and probate, the legal process whereby a court oversees the distribution of assets left by a deceased person, is not necessary.

If the will does not mention the real estate and your mother owned it in her sole name at the time of her death, then the real estate is subject to probate and it will be distributed according to the residual clause of the will, if there is one. If there is no residual clause or no named beneficiary for the real estate, then it will be divided equally among your mother's surviving children, after expenses of probate and creditors are paid.

You should consult with an attorney for more specific information.

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