Leonard is a member of the Oregon State Bar Elder Law Section. The goals of the committee are to provide resources to attorneys practicing in this area the expertise to assist people in this protected class. With our growing population of elderly, the challenges they face are many and complex. If you have doubts about your rights, contact Leonard a seasoned professional that will fight for your rights to schedule an appointment.




Whom may I choose to inherit my property if I write a will?

The only rule is that if you are married, your spouse has a right to claim part of your estate. Generally, unless you entered into an agreement in which you validly waived your right to claim a share of your spouse’s estate, spouses cannot disinherit each other. You are not required, however, to leave anything to your children or other family members. You may instead choose a friend or charity to inherit your property. If you plan to disinherit a family member it is very important that you consult with an attorney experienced in estate planning to make sure that your plan will be followed.

Is a will expensive?

No, a simple will is not expensive. However, the cost of any will depends on how much work your lawyer does for you. As a will becomes more complicated, the cost rises. Ask your lawyer for an estimate of the cost. In general, the trouble and expense of not having a will far outweigh the cost of the will.

Do I need a will if I don't have much money?

The amount of property you own does not determine whether you need a will. Your personal and financial circumstances determine when and how a will should be drafted. For example, it is important for new parents to have a will to provide for their children even if they own little personal or real property.

What are estate and inheritance taxes?

Estate taxes are the taxes that need to be paid out of your estate after you die. These are based on the total amount of assets that you own at the time of your death. There are federal estate taxes as well as taxes due to Oregon. These amounts change frequently as Congress and our state legislature determine the amounts. An estate planning lawyer may be able to draft a will, trust or other document, as well as give you advice, to help reduce the amount of taxes your estate may owe upon your death.

Nobody wants to think about their death. Careful planning, including thoughtful preparation of a will that fully expresses your wishes, can provide for the people and the causes to which your life is devoted. Don’t leave matters to chance and fail to draw a will. If you do not prepare a will, a greater than necessary amount of your assets may go to state and federal governments in taxes. And your remaining assets may go to individuals other than those loved ones whom you would prefer to benefit.