I live in Ore and need to know what steps need to be taken as far as checks to my husbands estate.

My husband of 33 years pasted away suddenly of a heart attack. There is no will. He had been off work on disability for over a year. I was his care taker and have not worked in a number of years. What do I need to do? Also how do I handle checks to his estate, my credit union will not take them.

Asked on June 5, 2009 under Estate Planning, Oregon


L.M., Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

I'm sorry for your loss.  Most estates, with or without a will, go through a court process called probate.  You will probably need an attorney to help you with this, so find one on attorneypages.com or your local bar association who specializes in estate law.  During probate, the court will appoint a personal representative of the estate (probably you) to handle payment of debts, taxes, and distribution of assets.  If it is a small estate (under $50K in assets, and real property no more than $150K for a total of no more than $200K), an abbreviated probate procedure can be done, taking a lot less time.  Once probate commences, you should be able to deposit checks for your husband's estate, and your attorney can help you set up the appropriate account to do so.  Again, I'm very sorry for your loss.

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