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Benefits of Hiring an Estate Planning Attorney in Oregon

Proper estate planning protects your interests and can make a challenging time easier for your loved ones after your passing. Each situation is unique, and estate planning is not a one-size-fits-all venture. At Johnson and Taylor, our estate planning attorneys in Salem, OR offer quality legal services and advice you can trust. Whether you have a modest estate or significant assets, your estate planning lawyer can ensure that your wishes are carried out after you’re gone.

Why is Estate Planning Important?

When you die without a last will and testament or estate plan in place, your assets will be distributed according to Oregon laws of intestate succession. This means that the probate court decides how your estate will be distributed, and it may not match up with what you would have wanted. Failing to properly plan can also take an emotional and financial toll on your grieving loved ones. Probate can be a long, expensive process. An estate plan can help your family avoid unnecessary conflict and streamline the estate administration process.

In addition, estate planning documents such as powers of attorney and advance directives can ensure your rights and interests are protected if you become incapacitated. This not only safeguards your health and assets but makes a challenging time easier for those you love as well.

How an Estate Planning Attorney in Portland can Help

While it might be tempting to use an online template for a will and call it a day, even a seemingly inconsequential error can put your assets and interests at risk. Our estate planning and probate lawyers are well-versed in drafting wills, trusts, and powers of attorney, and can help you create a plan that meets your specific needs and circumstances.

Navigating Complexities

Estate planning is complex, and navigating ever-changing federal and state laws can be frustrating. Our estate planning attorneys have an in-depth knowledge of the law and keep up with the latest developments, which can ensure your plan is legally sound. A lawyer on our estate planning team can tailor your plan to your specific circumstances and goals. We help you consider factors such as family dynamics, financial assets, and charitable intentions. Developing an effective estate planning strategy can give you peace of mind, knowing that everything will be taken care of after you’re gone.

Asset Management and Tax Considerations

Complex assets such as business interests, multiple properties, and investments can make estate planning even more complicated and challenging. Our experienced estate planning attorneys can advise you on how to best manage and transfer these assets efficiently while minimizing tax implications and ensuring smooth estate administration.

Utilizing Trusts

Our estate planning lawyers may suggest certain types of trusts that help preserve wealth for your beneficiaries and avoid a lengthy, costly, probate process. Trusts allow you to provide for loved ones with special needs and those who may not be financially responsible. Trusts can also enable you to keep the details of your estate private.

Charitable Giving

If philanthropy is important to you, our estate planning lawyers can assist you with integrating charitable giving into your estate plan. Whether through direct bequests, establishing a charitable trust, or other strategies, your attorney can help you maximize the impact of your charitable contributions while also potentially providing tax benefits.

Guardianship of Minor Children

If you have minor children, it’s critical to name guardians for them in the event of your death. Your estate planning attorney can guide you through the process of selecting the right person or people to take care of your children and look out for their best interests. If you pass away without naming a legal guardian for your children, the decision will be left up to the court and may result in them being placed with someone you wouldn’t have chosen.

Planning for Incapacity

Estate planning isn’t just about what happens after you die. It also involves preparing for what will happen in the event of an illness or injury. Our estate planning lawyers can help you create a power of attorney for healthcare, power of attorney for finances, and advance medical directive that specifies your wishes for medical treatment and end-of-life care. They can also help you determine who would be best suited to make decisions for you should you become incapacitated and unable to handle your affairs.

Peace of Mind

If handled improperly, estate planning can sometimes lead to conflict in families. Your estate planning lawyer can facilitate discussions among family members, clarify intentions, and create a plan that minimizes the likelihood of disputes or challenges after your passing. This can help preserve relationships and give everyone involved peace of mind. By having a comprehensive estate plan in place, you can rest assured that your loved ones will be taken care of and your wishes will be carried out according to your desires.

In addition to handling wills, trusts, probate, and estate planning, our team litigates personal injury and divorce and family law matters. Our estate planning attorneys in Salem, OR serve clients in Marion, Polk, and Linn counties and surrounding communities.

Contact Our Estate Planning Lawyers in Salem, Oregon

At Johnson and Taylor, we’re dedicated to helping our clients create effective estate plans tailored to their specific circumstances. Call our office at 503-990-6641 or contact us to schedule a consultation with our estate planning attorneys in Oregon. Members of our team provide quality legal services to our Spanish-speaking clients.

What is a Special Needs Trust?

Also called a supplemental needs trust, a special needs trust (SNT) is a fiduciary arrangement designed to hold and manage assets for a person with disabilities. This type of trust is intended to provide for the supplemental needs of the beneficiary without jeopardizing their access to benefits such as Medicaid or Supplemental Security Income (SSI). At Johnson and Taylor, our trust attorneys in Salem, Oregon can help you understand how a special needs trust works and determine whether it’s appropriate for your specific circumstances.

Understanding Special Needs Trusts

The role of a special needs trust is to enhance the quality of life of a loved one with disabilities by providing for their supplemental needs. Funds from special needs trusts in Oregon may only be used for certain things, such as entertainment, education, and medical expenses not covered by Medicare or Medicaid. Although these funds typically cannot cover needs like housing costs and food, they may be used for:

  • Vacations and travel
  • Entertainment and recreation
  • Home furnishings, electronics, and other supplemental items
  • Vehicles
  • Transportation services
  • Medical devices
  • Goods and services not covered by medical insurance, such as eyeglasses and dental work
  • Training and education
  • Insurance
  • Legal expenses
  • Payments for a hired companion
  • Burial expenses

It’s vital for a trustee to know how proceeds from a special needs trust may be used. A wills and trusts attorney can evaluate your circumstances and advise you on choosing a person who understands how these specific rules apply. If you don’t have anyone specific in mind, your attorney may recommend appointing a professional trust administrator.

Types of Special Needs Trusts in Oregon

The most common type of SNT is a third-party special needs trust. This type of trust is established by someone other than the beneficiary and is usually a parent, grandparent, guardian, or another family member.

A self-settled special needs trust, also called a first-party SNT, is funded with assets owned by a person with disabilities. A first-party SNT is often funded with proceeds from a personal injury settlement, inheritance, or other sources. It’s important to note that upon the beneficiary’s death, Medicaid and other means-tested benefit programs may have a right to recover funds from the trust to reimburse the government for benefits provided during their lifetime.

Creating a Special Needs Trust

A special needs is created by a grantor and managed by a trustee for the benefit of the person with disabilities. It must be carefully drafted to ensure compliance with state and federal laws that apply to trusts and public benefit programs. Assets can be transferred into the trust during the grantor’s lifetime or through provisions in a will or other estate planning documents. Hiring a wills and trusts attorney with experience in special needs planning can ensure the trust meets all legal requirements.

Duties of a Trustee

The trustee has the fiduciary duty to manage the trust assets prudently and in the best interests of the beneficiary. This includes investing assets, filing tax returns, and making distributions according to the terms of the trust and the law.

Trustees are also responsible for maintaining accurate records of all trust transactions, including income, expenses, and distributions. They may be required to provide periodic accountings to beneficiaries and other interested parties as specified by Oregon law. One of their most important duties is to ensure that funds are used in a way that doesn’t jeopardize any public benefits a disabled person receives.

Preserving Eligibility for Government Benefits

Government benefits such as Medicare, Medicaid, and SSI have strict income and asset limits. When assets are placed in a special needs trust, they aren’t considered when determining a person’s eligibility for these benefits.

A special needs trust is a valuable tool for providing financial support and enhancing the quality of life for a loved one with disabilities. Ensuring that it’s meticulously crafted by an experienced lawyer and administered by a knowledgeable trustee is vital to preserving your loved one’s benefits, well-being, and financial security.

In addition to handling wills, trusts, and estate planning, Johnson and Taylor litigate personal injury and divorce and family matters. Our estate planning attorneys serve clients in Marion, Polk, and Linn County and surrounding communities.

Contact a Special Needs Trust Attorney in Oregon

At Johnson and Taylor, we’re dedicated to helping our clients find peace of mind, knowing that their loved ones will be well taken care of after they’re gone. If you need assistance with creating a special needs trust, call our office at 503-990-6641 or contact us to schedule a consultation with a trust attorney in Oregon. Members of our team are fluent in Spanish.

How Can I Get a Restraining Order In Oregon?

Figuring out how to get a restraining order in Oregon can be stressful and overwhelming at an already difficult time. At Johnson and Taylor, our domestic violence lawyers are well-versed in the process and help clients in Salem, Oregon, and surrounding communities find the peace of mind and protection they need.

What Is a Protective Order?

A protective order is a civil legal remedy that prohibits a potentially harmful person from contact with the person who filed for the order. In Oregon, there are several types of protective orders.

Family Abuse Prevention Act (FAPA) Restraining Orders

A FAPA restraining order offers protection from abuse by a current or former spouse, domestic partner, intimate partner, family member, or parent of a victim’s child. If the victim is under the age of 18, the respondent must be at least 18 and be a current or former spouse, domestic partner, or someone with whom the victim has had a sexually intimate relationship.

Sexual Abuse Protective Order (SAPO)

A Sexual Abuse Protective Order may be available to individuals in certain circumstances when they are subjected to unwanted sexual contact by another person who is not a family member or intimate partner.

Elder/Disabled Abuse Prevention Act (DAPA) Restraining Orders

This type of restraining order is intended to protect people 65 and older or those who are vulnerable due to a disability from neglect and physical, verbal, financial, and sexual abuse.

Stalking Protective Order

A stalking protective order is designed to protect a person who is being stalked. Stalking usually involves a significant pattern of engaging in unwanted or repeated contact, or intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly alarming or coercing another person.

A domestic violence lawyer can help determine which type of protective order is most appropriate for your circumstances.

Where to File for a FAPA Restraining Order in Oregon

You must file for a restraining order in the county courthouse where either you or the respondent lives. There is no fee to obtain a restraining order. It’s important to make sure the restraining order paperwork is filed in the correct jurisdiction. An experienced family law attorney can ensure that paperwork is filed with the correct court and all required information is included.

What Proof Do I Need to Get a Restraining Order?

In addition to age and relationship requirements, certain criteria must be met to obtain a FAPA restraining order, including: 

  • Instances of abuse: The respondent must have caused you physical injury or made you fear they would cause physical harm to you within the previous 180 days. This includes being forced to have sexual relations against your will. If the person who abused you was in jail or lived more than 100 miles from your home for a time, it may not count as part of the 180 days. You may still be able to obtain a restraining order even if it’s been more than 180 days since you were abused.
  • Credible threat to safety: Your physical safety or the safety of your children must be in jeopardy at the time you file for the restraining order. Rude behavior or emotional or mental abuse do not provide sufficient cause to grant a restraining order.

When completing your petition for a restraining order, it’s crucial to be detailed about the nature of the abuse and the dates it occurred. A domestic violence lawyer can help you fill out the paperwork and advise you on specific language and details to include. Don’t hesitate to ask your family law attorney questions if you’re unsure about what to say.

What Happens After I File for a Restraining Order?

A judge will review your paperwork and may ask you some questions. If the restraining order is granted, a copy must be hand-delivered to the respondent by a sheriff’s deputy, process server, or any adult who lives in the state of Oregon.

The respondent has 30 days from the date of service to request a hearing. If they do not request a hearing, the restraining order will stay in effect generally for a period of one year. If requested, a hearing may be scheduled quickly, so it’s important to make sure the court has your current contact information, such as phone number and mailing address.

If you fail to attend the hearing, the order likely will be dismissed. Having a family law attorney assist you with the process and represent you at the hearing can help you avoid common mistakes, present convincing arguments on your behalf, and obtain a restraining order that covers all the issues you wish to address.

How Long Does a Restraining Order Last?

If granted, your restraining order will be in effect for one year from the date the judge signed it, unless it is dismissed or canceled by the court. A restraining order can affect child custody, so if circumstances change and you wish to amend it or renew it for another year, your domestic violence lawyer can help with that as well.

Contact Our Family Law Attorneys In Oregon  

At Johnson and Taylor, our domestic violence lawyers know that dealing with abuse and getting a restraining order can be traumatic. Our compassionate, competent attorneys and staff are here to help you get through it. Johnson and Taylor litigates personal injury, divorce and family law and estate planning and probate cases. Our team includes Spanish-speaking attorneys, and our divorce and family and estate planning and probate lawyers serve clients in Marion, Polk, and Linn County and other surrounding communities. Contact us online or call 503-990-6641 to schedule a consultation.

How Can I Make Sure I Get Enough Alimony in Oregon?

Known as spousal support in Oregon, alimony is a payment made by one spouse to provide financial assistance to the other during and after a divorce. Whether you’re thinking of filing for divorce or you’re already receiving alimony or spousal support, it’s important to know how much (if any) you may be entitled to receive. Our family law attorneys at Johnson and Taylor explain how alimony works in Oregon and how a divorce lawyer can ensure your arrangement is fair.

Types of Alimony in Oregon

There are three types of spousal support in Oregon. Each one serves a specific purpose.

  • Transitional spousal support may be ordered for example to enable one spouse to attend school or a training program to improve their career opportunities and earning capacity.
  • Compensatory spousal support may be ordered for example to a spouse who helped fund the other’s higher education so they could get a degree that increased their earning capacity. Common examples of this include obtaining a Ph.D., an MBA, or a medical or law degree.
  • Maintenance support may be ordered for example when one spouse has a higher-earning capacity than the other spouse to enable the other spouse to continue a standard of living similar to what they had during the marriage. It’s more commonly ordered when a divorce involves a long-term marriage.

How Is Spousal Support Determined in Oregon?

There is no set formula for determining alimony payments in Oregon. Ideally, if you and your spouse are on decent terms, your divorce lawyer can analyze both parties’ finances and negotiate a fair amount of spousal support in your divorce settlement. If alimony must be ordered by the court, a judge has discretion in what they can consider. Some factors that they often consider are:

  • The length of the marriage
  • Age and health status
  • Each spouse’s financial needs and resources
  • The requesting spouse’s employment skills, work experience, and earning potential
  • Which spouse has custody of the children and who pays child support

Spousal support is most often awarded in situations where there is a significant income or earning capacity disparity between spouses. Courts try to enable each spouse to live at a comparable standard to what they enjoyed during their marriage. To ensure you receive the full amount of alimony to which you may be entitled, it’s crucial to have an experienced family law attorney advocate for you in court.

Questions About Alimony in Oregon

Knowing the answers to these questions can help you better understand how much you may receive in alimony, and for how long.

  • Can alimony be modified? Spousal support payments can be increased, reduced, or terminated in some cases. When there’s a significant change in the financial status of either party, they can petition the court for a modification. Common reasons for modifying a spousal support order include a decrease or increase in income, job loss, illness, retirement, and remarriage. However, if alimony was not included in your final divorce settlement or judgment, you cannot go to court and ask for it later.
  • Can alimony be paid in a lump sum? In Oregon, spousal support may be paid in a single lump payment or in installments, which are typically paid monthly. Maintenance support usually is paid monthly, while a judge may order a lump sum to be paid for compensatory or transitional support. This varies according to the specific circumstances.
  • Is alimony paid indefinitely? Typically, a divorce judgment will include a date when spousal support payments will end. Depending on the situation, it may be ordered for an indefinite period or a few years.
  • Does alimony have tax consequences? Yes, but determining what they are can be complicated. Prior to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 (TCJA), the receiving spouse had to declare alimony payments as income to the IRS and on income state tax returns, and payments were tax-deductible for the paying spouse. However, in divorce settlement agreements dated Jan. 1, 2019, or later, alimony payments are not deductible by the paying spouse, and the receiving spouse does not have to report spousal support as taxable income. If you’re uncertain about how alimony and child support payments may affect your tax liability, talk to a tax professional or your child support lawyer.

How a Divorce Lawyer Can Help

The best way to ensure you’re getting the full amount of alimony you may be entitled to receive or paying the correct amount to your ex is to seek the counsel of an experienced family law attorney. A lawyer who knows the ins and out of divorce law and spousal support in Oregon can protect your rights and interests and provide compassionate legal support throughout the process.

Contact Our Family Law Attorneys in Oregon  

Johnson and Taylor litigates personal injury, divorce and family law and estate planning and probate cases. Our divorce and family and estate planning and probate lawyers serve clients in Marion, Polk, and Linn County and other surrounding communities. Our caring, dedicated team includes Spanish-speaking attorneys who understand that hashing out issues such as alimony and child support can be challenging. Contact us online or call us at 503-990-6641 to schedule a consultation.

How Is Child Support Determined in Oregon?

Making sure your children have everything they need to live a healthy, happy life is a crucial part of parenting. In Oregon, both parents are obligated to provide financial support for their children based on child support guidelines as outlined by the state. Whether you are going through a divorce, custody, or need assistance with child support enforcement, our family law attorneys at Johnson and Taylor can help.

Factors Considered When Calculating Child Support

Several factors are used to determine the amount of child support payments in Oregon. The children’s specific needs, each parent’s income and ability to pay, and the amount of parenting time are all considered by the court. In addition, one or both parents are responsible for covering the cost of childcare, medical care, health insurance, and educational needs. Financial obligations such as debt, spousal support, union dues, and other expenses are taken into consideration as well.

Calculating Child Support

Although Oregon offers a calculation tool based on state child support guidelines, it’s important to seek the counsel of an experienced child support lawyer to ensure the amount you end up paying or receiving is fair. You’ll need to gather information such as the monthly gross income for you and your co-parent, spousal support, social security or veteran’s benefits, and other similar expenses or income. Using the Oregon parenting time calculator can help you figure out the average number of annual overnights the children are with each parent.

In addition to disclosing any income and expenses you have, you’ll provide information such as:

  • Childcare costs for the children you share
  • Childcare costs for any children from other relationships
  • Health insurance coverage costs for you and your children
  • Social security or veterans’ benefits the children receive due to a parent’s disability or retirement
  • Other income and debts

Although the calculator estimates how much child support you will receive or be required to pay, a parent’s actual enforceable obligation can only be established by an administrative or court order.

Disputing the Amount of Child Support

If you believe the amount you are to receive or pay is inappropriate, a child support attorney can help you challenge it in a court hearing. You must present reasons you think the amount is unreasonable, and a judge will decide whether to modify payments after considering the following factors:

  • Other financial resources
  • Reasonable necessities
  • Net income, particularly after payment of joint debt
  • Ability to get a loan or borrow money
  • Needs of other children or dependents
  • Special hardships
  • Whether the custodial parent is to remain a full-time parent and homemaker
  • Tax implications
  • Income of another spouse or live-in partner
  • Evidence that children are not living with either parent
  • The return on capital
  • Education costs such as room, board, tuition, and fees
  • Other factors that impact the children’s well-being and a parent’s ability to pay

If you’re a paying parent, it’s important to keep in mind that child support will not be reduced simply because you work less or not at all. If you’re unemployed or underemployed and have the potential to work more, the court may add prospective income you could be making.

When a Parent Refuses to Pay Child Support

Unfortunately, many people have trouble collecting child support payments from their co-parent. Known as the obligor, the paying parent is supposed to make child support payments on time and in full each month. An obligor cannot shirk their responsibility by simply failing to pay. If you’re having a problem collecting child support, a child support lawyer can help you take legal action. The state can garnish the obligor’s wages, collect tax refunds, place a lien on their property, and may suspend their passport and driver’s license.

A parent who doesn’t pay their court-ordered child support is considered in contempt of court. This means an attorney can help you make them appear in front of a judge to explain why they’re not paying. If they fail to show up, a warrant may be issued for their arrest.

When a Parent Can’t Pay Child Support

If you have been ordered to pay child support and can’t meet your monthly obligation due to unforeseen circumstances, a family law attorney can help you file a support modification that explains why you need a reduction. You must present evidence that shows why you do not have the income to pay. Whether it’s due to a job loss, illness, or another reason, you should contact your child support attorney as soon as possible.

Contact Our Child Support Lawyers in Oregon

At Johnson and Taylor, we understand that issues like child support can cause emotional and financial upheaval in families. Our Spanish-speaking attorneys are well-versed in Oregon child support law and always keep your children’s interests at the forefront. Johnson and Taylor litigates personal injury, divorce and family law and estate planning and probate cases. Our divorce and family and estate planning and probate lawyers serve clients in Marion, Polk, and Linn County and other surrounding communities. Contact us online or call 503-990-6641 to schedule a consultation.