Estate Planning During COVID-19

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic a lot of my clients are asking about their estate planning. One question I hear repeatedly is “do I need a will?” The answer depends on individual circumstances, family dynamics, personal preferences, and a host of other issues. That said, the answer is a definite “yes” if one of the following circumstances applies to you.  

You Have Minor Children 

A will allows you to name a guardian for your children should anything happen to you. Also, you can name a conservator to manage assets on your child’s behalf until they are old enough to manage those assets independently. You may name the same individual to serve as both guardian and asset manager or choose to separate those responsibilities. Ultimately, whether someone will be appointed as guardian or conservator is decided by the court but usually the court will appoint the person you name. 

Finally, you may determine the age and circumstances under which assets are distributed to your child.  

You Would Like to Choose How Your Assets are Divided 

With no will in place, Oregon State law determines how your assets will be distributed. This default, known as intestate law, rules that if you are married, all asset will be given to your spouse first. If you are unmarried, assets will be given to your children. If you are unmarried and do not have children, assets will be given to your surviving parents, and so on. If you desire for your assets to be distributed in any way that is different than these default rules, you may consider creating a will.  

You Would Like to Select the Executor of Your Estate 

These default rules also state that, with no will in place, Oregon courts will decide who will act as your personal representative, or the executor of your estate. Depending on your circumstances or family dynamic, you may believe that some individuals in your family may be better suited to handle your affairs then others. In a will, you may appoint a personal representative.  

You or Your Spouse Were Previously Married 

Intestate laws do not include stepchildren as beneficiaries of their step-parents’ estates. If you would like to provide for any stepchildren, you will need to stipulate that in a will to avoid them being denied assets from your estate.  

Of course, every situation and family are different. While these are rough guidelines, you will need to consult a knowledgeable attorney at Baum Smith in order to truly determine whether you need a will. While our office operations are temporarily modified under Governor Brown’s executive order, we are still accepting new clients. For more information or to schedule an appointment, please call our office at (541) 963-3104 or contact us online at 

The content of this blog is intended to be general and informational in nature. It is advertising material and is not intended to be legal advice to or for any particular person, case, or circumstance. Every matter is different, and you should consult an attorney if you have any questions about your situation