Q: I am confused about the Oregon Small Estate Affidavit. It does not allow you to set up estate account, pay bills, etc.
Our mother passed and because her real estate was less than 200k and other assets minimal, we filed a Small Estate Affidavit in Oregon. There was a will listing us children as beneficiaries of all assets and specifying one of us as Executor. However, now we realize that this Small Estate process does not appoint a Personal Representative or issue a Letter of Administration. We have received checks that go to the estate and bills that need to be paid, but cannot open an estate bank account - the banks require a Letter of Administration. Even the Small Estate Affidavit form specifies our obligation to carry out these actions, yet the court will not issue a Letter of Administration because we filed a Small Estate Affidavit. What is the purpose of a Small Estate Affidavit if it will not allow these basic things to be taken care of, not to mention transferring ownership of the real estate? What am I missing here?
A: You are correct that Oregon's small estate procedure does not result in the appointment of a Personal Representative or issuance of Letters Testamentary. All you receive is a certified copy of the Affidavit of Claiming Successor (Small Estate Affidavit). Banks in Oregon are supposed to honor this document and allow you to open an estate account but they often do not. Try a smaller local credit union or bank. If you cannot find a financial institution that will open an account you may be stuck filing a full probate.
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