Given a 2019 survey reporting the number of people who create at minimum a Will to handle the distribution of their assets, continues to decline -- down nearly 25% since 2017 -- I thought it a good topic to discuss the rules of intestacy succession – the rules in Oregon governing how the State determines who gets what from your estate without a Will in place. Though what follows is oversimplified, because there are details to be addressed in each step evaluating who receives what and in what percentage, it provides an initial sense of the hierarchy the State follows. Initially, the State looks to determine your immediate family. If you have a spouse and no children, or the children are both of yours, your spouse receives everything; but if some of your children are not with your spouse, assets are divided between your spouse and the children. If you have children but no spouse, then your children receive everything. If you have no spouse and no children, your surviving parent(s) or their descendants may receive everything. Finding no one in that search, your siblings or their descendants receive everything. Finding no one in that search, your grandparents, or their descendants receive everything. So, as you see it can get very involved finding who has the legal right to receive your assets when you have not made that clear. Eventually, finding no one in these searches, unclaimed property 'escheats' to the State.
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