San Diego, CA asked in Probate for Oregon

Q: How are proceeds on a house divided in Oregon, titled as husband and wife upon a death? Death 10 years ago.

When wife dies, how are proceeds divided? Can title be changed now? Nothing ever probated and title is still listed as husband and wife. He died 10 years ago. No personal representative was ever done. Children on both sides.

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

A: The deceased wife's estate will have to go through probate. Probate is the legal process whereby a court oversees the distribution of assets left by a deceased person. The house is considered an asset of the surviving spouse if they held title as husband and wife. When the husband died, the wife became the sole owner.

If the deceased wife had a will, the will is “proved” and delivered to the probate court. A personal representative is selected. A personal representative 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 court. If a person dies without a will, the court will select the personal representative, usually an adult child or another close relative. After court approval and notices to all interested parties and payment of all unpaid probate expenses, the deceased person’s assets are distributed to the people named in the will or, if the person died without a will, to the heirs of the deceased person.

You should contact an attorney in Oregon to begin the probate process to transfer ownership of the home. Without a probate court order, the deed (title) to the home legally cannot be transferred to anyone.

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