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Trusts & Estates Law/Mother died intestate in Oregon


QUESTION: Mom died with no Will and leaves a surviving spouse (stepfather) plus her 5 children. The OR 112.025 states that the spouse gets "50% and the other heirs 50%". What exactly does this mean? Does it include all the household goods and other items? Or does all these things belong only to the spouse?

My sister was POA & remains POA for the stepfather. On the day Mom died sister claimed herself as "executor" and stated: "I decide" (who gets what). She refuses to disclose any financial info and won't tell where a storage unit is. Mom sold her house 4 years ago & sister says there is only 24k in a joint account.

In the last 2 months I have received 4 boxes of items and wonder if I'm even legally supposed to have them. The law is unclear. If everything belongs to the spouse, wouldn't this be theft?

Even if this isn't theft, why does my sister think she has the right to "distribute" property? She "donated" a computer without our consent and I now realize it contained about 30 years of my mother's research on family genealogy...and there are no back-up copies.

I have inventoried the items and now have to store them, because wouldn't a percentage of their value belong to the other heirs?

The worst thing she did was have my mother cremated, without our consent. There was nothing in writing to state this was my mother's wish. Plus, her body would have been "evidence", because an incorrect diagnosis of her medical condition and subsequent cause of death was made.This "evidence" could have been cause for a "Wrongful Death" lawsuit....against my stepfather!!!

So to whom does all this "stuff" I have belong? My sister cleaned out the assisted living apt. and left the stepfather with his bed, dresser, clothes, chair, and TV. That's amusing to me, but it may constitute theft(?)

ANSWER: The law is clear.  50/50 means everything including shoes.  Your sister had no right
To do what she did.   What can you do though? File a police report?

Intestacy is just a bad situation.



[an error occurred while processing this directive]---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: I very much appreciate that you finally made this clear to me.
There are 5 siblings and my sister is being both deceptive and secretive.

There was a solid oak dining table, chairs, china cabinet, and curio cabinet in the apartment that was worth quite a bit of money. That means the value should be split 6 ways, if this is right. It means that the spouse doesn't own it.

I was curious because he has children, and they may also want to protect "their share".

In theory, it sounds like whoever gets there first gets first pick at the bones. I walked out of the apt and left everything behind because of the Vulture attitude.

However, there is a "cottage by the ocean". My sister cannot take that without going through probate. When that happens all the other nastiness will come out in the wash, don't you think? The problem is she thinks she has to wait until the stepfather dies to file probate, but if that happens his children will inherit 100%

You didn't exactly say whether this is theft or not(?) I know there are many thousands of dollars involved. My mother enjoyed a wealthy lifestyle and had many nice things. What would the police do, you think?
"This is a Civil Matter" would probably be their response.

Thankx for the right on and realistic answer. I might even file probate, since it's still up for "grabs".

Let me clarify and perhaps you can update your feedback.  First I am not an attorney and don't know the laws in Oregon.  Until probate is finished, no one should be taking anything.  What I alluded to is your options are limited to filing for an injunction to prevent this theft.  You are right the police won't do anything unless you violate a court order.

Your sister is NOT the executor and won't be until the court appoints one.  What puzzles me is why you don't hire a lawyer to protect your share immediately if you believe there are thousands of dollars involved.  That is the best advice anyone can offer.


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David Disraeli


I can answer general questions about estate planning and trusts. I can also answer questions about estate tax reduction and advanced charitable giving, family partnerships and asset protection. I may have already answered your question here: or here


I have worked for 24 years with clients and their attorneys to formulate estate plans to meet client goals. I have found many mistakes made by client attorneys and were able to have them corrected. I focus on making sure that beneficiaries are protected from current or future spouses and lawsuits so the wealth stays in the family. I have also published a book on Aging Parents which can be found on Amazon

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Certified Financial Planner 1994

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