Next of kin and heir at law are often used interchangeably under Oregon law. A next of kin heir at law describes someone in line to inherit from a decedent’s estate under Oregon’s laws of intestate succession and generally includes:
- Surviving spouse
- Children and descendants
What Next Of Kin Inherit From An Intestate Estate In Oregon?
The next of kin heirs at law that have the right to inherit from an Oregon decedent’s intestate estate depends on the survivors of the decedent. Next of kin heirs that are closer in relation to the decedent have priority for inheritance under Oregon’s intestate succession laws.
Survivors of the Decedent
Division of The Intestate Estate
– 100% to spouse (ORS 112.035)
Children or descendants of deceased children only
– 100% to children and descendants of deceased children by representation (ORS 112.045)
Spouse and shared descendants of decedent and spouse
– 100% to spouse (ORS 112.025)
Spouse and descendants, one or more who is not a descendant of spouse
– ½ of estate to spouse
– ½ of estate to descendants in equal shares by representation (ORS 112.025)
Parents, no spouse or descendants
– Estate divided equally between parents (ORS 112.045)
Siblings, no parents, spouse, or descendants
– Estate divided equally between siblings (ORS 112.045)
Grandparents, no siblings, parents, spouse, or descendants
– Estate divided between grandparents (ORS 112.045)
None of the above
– Oregon inherits the estate (ORS 112.055)
What Do Next Of Kin Heirs Inherit Under Oregon Law?
The next of kin heirs inherit assets from a decedent’s intestate probate estate in Oregon. A decedent’s estate is intestate when there is no valid will governing the distribution of assets. Instead, Oregon law applies and dictates where the assets of the estate go.
Only assets within Decedent’s probate estate are governed by Oregon intestate succession laws for distribution to a decedent’s next of kin heir. If a decedent died with only non-probate assets, then the next of kin heirs might have nothing to inherit. Non-probate assets include bank accounts with a joint owner or a named pay-on-death beneficiary. These designations will control the disposition of the account after an owner’s death, instead of Oregon intestate succession law. See the Probate and Non-Probate Assets Chart.
What Does It Mean To Inherit By Representation?
When next of kin heirs inherit by representation under Oregon intestate succession law, “representation” means the method of determining the passing of the net intestate estate when the distributees are of different generations in relation to the decedent. Representation under Oregon law is accomplished as follows:
If a distributive share of a wholly or partially intestate estate passes by representation to a person’s descendants, the share is divided into as many equal shares as there are:
(a)Surviving descendants in the generation nearest to the person that contains one or more surviving descendants; and
(b)Deceased descendants, in the generation nearest to the person that contains one or more surviving descendants, who left surviving descendants, if any.
(2)Each share created for a surviving descendant in the nearest generation is distributed to that descendant. Each share created for a deceased descendant is distributed to the descendants of the deceased descendant by representation as described in this section.
For example, let’s say Bob had three children – Tom, John, and Joe. Joe died before Bob. Joe had two children – Sally and Susan. Bob died intestate, with no surviving spouse. Tom, John, and Joe’s children would inherit Bob’s intestate estate. Tom and John would receive 1/3 each, and Sally and Susan would share 1/3 (because they take Joe’s share by representation).
This rule can be found in Oregon Revised Statute 112.065.
Survivorship Period For Intestate Inheritance In Oregon
Like several states, Oregon has a five-day survivorship requirement for a next of kin heir to inherit under the intestate succession statutes. Section 112.572 of the Oregon Revised Statutes states:
Except as provided in ORS 112.586 (Exceptions), if the title to property, the devolution of property, the right to elect an interest in property or the right to exempt property depends upon whether a specified person survives the death of another person, the specified person shall be deemed to have died before the other person unless it is established by clear and convincing evidence that the specified person survived the other person by at least 120 hours.
Determining whether you are a next of kin heir in Oregon can be confusing, particularly in more complex family situations. An Oregon probate lawyer can help you determine your next of kin rights.