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Seeking Guardianship In The State Of Oregon

gavel and book
There are many different reasons someone may seek guardianship of a child or an adult. At Johnson and Taylor, LLC, our family law and probate attorneys have years of experience handling all types of guardianship proceedings. We can help you understand what is involved in the process and guide you through it from beginning to end.

What Is A Legal Guardian?

A guardian has the legal authority to make personal and health care decisions for a minor, developmentally disabled adult or an adult who has become incapacitated. Generally, the duties of a guardian are to oversee the welfare and safety of the person under guardianship, which may include making decisions about health care, education, place of residence and finances. A guardian is appointed by the court, and the duties and responsibilities of a guardian vary depending on which type of guardianship is granted.

Child Guardianship

Guardianship determinations are made by the court in the best interests of the child. Oregon law permits any suitable person to petition the family court for guardianship of a minor. Guardianship does not terminate the birth parents’ rights but does give the guardian the responsibilities of a custodial parent.  Involuntary guardianships (without the parents’ consent) are only granted when parents are unwilling or unable to adequately care for a child. A guardian does not have a legal obligation to support the child financially, but the weight of financial support often falls on a guardian’s shoulders.

To seek guardianship of a minor, you must file a petition with the applicable probate court. Depending on the situation and the type of guardianship you’re seeking, this area of the law can be complex. Whether you are a grandparent, step-parent, friend or other family member, if you’re seeking guardianship of a minor, having an experienced family law attorney in your corner is vital to ensure that the best interests of the child are served. If you’re a parent who wishes to give temporary authority to someone to care for your child, a power of attorney may be more appropriate than guardianship.

Adult Guardianship

Guardianship and conservatorship for adults are typically handled in the Oregon probate court and are granted when a person lacks the capacity to make suitable decisions regarding their health and safety. A petition to appoint a guardian must be served on the incapacitated person and next of kin such as a spouse, children or siblings, who may file objections. Petitions for guardianship can be contentious, especially if there are multiple persons contesting the guardianship.

Contact A Guardianship Lawyer In Oregon

Our skilled and compassionate attorneys understand how challenging the guardianship process can be and fight to ensure your loved one’s rights are protected. Call us at 503-990-6641 or contact us online to schedule a consultation today.

The Importance Of Having A Will

Having a will can prevent conflict and help your loved ones save time and money in the event of your death. It’s essential to seek the counsel of experienced estate planning attorneys who make sure your wishes are carried out in the event of your passing. Our experienced estate planning attorneys help you create a will that reflects your wishes and protects your family’s rights and interests.

will with glasses and pen

What Is A Will?

A will is a legal document that indicates how you wish to have your property distributed after your death. Regardless of the number of assets you own, having a will is vital, especially if you’re a parent of young children. In your will, you name a personal representative (executor) who administers your estate. Your will also allows you to appoint a legal guardian for your children and plan how they will be provided for after your death. Your will must be in writing and signed by you and two witnesses. There are many legal formalities that apply to wills in the state of Oregon, so having knowledgeable estate planning attorneys assist you with drafting your will is a must.

Why Should I Have A Will?

When you die without a will, the state will distribute your estate based on the laws of intestate succession. The probate court chooses a personal representative to fill the role of executor. If you’ve been selected to serve as executor of an estate, it’s important to keep in mind that it can be a time-consuming task that involves many responsibilities. An estate planning lawyer can assist you with the probate process and help you understand how it works.

Oregon’s intestacy law gives your property to your relatives, starting with your spouse and children. If you don’t have a spouse or children, your grandchildren or parents inherit your property. Siblings, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins and your spouse’s relatives may all be potential beneficiaries of your estate, depending on your family situation. If the court finds that you have no living relatives by blood or marriage, your property goes to the state of Oregon. If any of your beneficiaries are in debt, their inheritance may be subject to the claims of their creditors.


Probate is the process by which the deceased’s property is distributed and debts are paid. To initiate the probate process, a petition must be filed with the probate court. The probate process usually takes about six to nine months, even with a will. If you don’t have a will at the time of your death, the process can be much more drawn out and costly.

The Importance Of Trusts

Although having a will is vital, it covers only your probate property, which means that your will includes only property owned solely by you at the time of your death. A revocable living trust offers many benefits beyond those of a simple will and can help your family cut probate costs and save on estate taxes.

If you need assistance with drafting your will, contact our caring team of estate planning attorneys at 503-990-6641 or contact us online to schedule a consultation today.

More personal injury case results

A sample of recent personal injury claims successfully resolved:

Client came to us after being severely injured in a pedestrian vs. car collision.  Three months after the accident, client still had not been able to find any insurance or other relevant details about the at-fault driver.  Client did not have uninsured motorist coverage because client did not drive.  Client was injured and had medical bills piling up; client felt hopeless.  Within a few weeks of calling our office, we found applicable automobile insurance and, within a few months of calling our office, we were able to secure a policy limits offer as well as confirming that the medical bills were being processed and paid.

Clients were involved in a major accident which required one client to have multiple surgeries with medical bills amounting to more than $115,000.  We were able to secure essential services for clients – clients did not work outside the home and needed in-home assistance with chores,etc.  We also received a policy limits settlement from the at-fault driver and a policy limits settlement from client’s underinsured motorist protection.  Additionally, Medicare claimed a substantial reimbursement right from the settlements.  We negotiated with Medicare to significantly reduce its claim and, thereafter, resolved clients’ insurance claims.

Client contacted our office with only 4 months remaining before the two-year personal injury claim deadline.  Client’s doctor eventually suggested surgery but client was hesitant because of his past, similar surgeries.  Client ultimately decided on surgery but the insurance company disputed that the need for surgery was caused by the accident in part due to client’s surgical history and significant delay in having the injury evaluated after the accident.  We were able to secure a policy limits offer from the at-fault driver’s insurance company as well as an underinsured motorist settlement, all before having to spend money on litigation.

Client was injured when stepping out of a vehicle onto a walkway/sidewalk which was made of bricks.  Some of the bricks were loose and caused client to fall.  The walkway was owned by the city.  We gave proper and timely notice to the city as required by law.  The city initially denied any liability on its part.  The city also disputed the extent of the injuries and part of the medical bills.  Eventually, we were able to resolve the claim to include compensation for client’s pain and suffering and payment of all medical expenses.

Call us now if you would like to discuss your case with a qualified personal injury attorney.  Personal injury consults are free!


Uninsured Motorist

As you probably know, being involved in a car accident can have drastic physical, emotional and financial consequences, especially when you are hit by an uninsured driver. Our personal injury lawyers are equipped to help you through this difficult process – give us a call any time to see how we can help.

Girl Sitting Against Car Following Collision

What is Uninsured & Underinsured Motorist Coverage?

Uninsured Motorist (UM) is a part of your auto insurance policy that covers you when an uninsured driver hurts you or damages your car.  Underinsured motorist (UIM) is used when a driver’s liability insurance is inadequate and will not cover the total amount of your damages.

Oregon law currently requires motorists to carry insurance of $25,000 per person and $50,000 per auto accident to cover bodily injury to others. Oregon Law also requires motorists to carry UM and UIM insurance – this protects you and passengers in your car!  Call our personal injury attorneys free of charge to help you understand this coverage better – we are happy to help.

Dealing With Your Insurance Company

Although filing a claim for an accident with an uninsured driver involves only your insurance company, it can get complicated. Your insurance company may try to minimize the damages of an accident to avoid paying you full compensation for your damages. If you’re unsure about the process of filing a claim or have questions about your Uninsured Motorist coverage, our experienced car accident attorneys can guide you through the claims process and communicate with your insurance company so you can focus on healing.

At Johnson and Taylor, our attorneys are well-versed in dealing with uninsured motorist and other personal injury claims. Our compassionate and experienced legal team serves clients in Salem, Portland, and surrounding areas, and Marion, Polk, and Linn counties. If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident with an uninsured motorist, contact us to schedule your free consultation today.  We’ll take it from here.

Introducing the newest member of our team – Attorney Don G. Johnson


Don was born and raised in Salem, Oregon, and after graduating from Sprague High School, he served a two-year service mission for his church in various parts of Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas. Don graduated from Brigham Young University – Idaho with a bachelor’s degree in business management. During his time as an undergraduate student he took advantage of many opportunities, including working as a Google AdWords Account Manager and starting his own small business. Don’s love for people and his desire to help them compelled him to become an attorney. He attended Willamette University College of Law in Salem, Oregon and was an active participant in Willamette’s Trust and Estate Clinical Law Program. Don’s practice and study are focused in the areas of family law, estate planning, and probate.

Don enjoys hiking and camping with his wife and three little ones. He enjoys playing basketball with his six brothers, cheering on the Trail Blazers, and eating ice cream.

Special standards apply in motorcycle accidents

Even under the best of circumstances, riding a motorcycle can be a dangerous proposition. Studies have shown that riding a motorcycle means that a person is more than 30 times as likely to die in an accident than if they are in a car.

While safety measures help, they are not a panacea. Under Oregon law, all motorcycle riders and their passengers are required to wear a helmet, and those helmets are required to meet federal motor vehicle safety standards. In addition, for the safety of riders, lane splitting is illegal in Oregon as well. Despite these measures, and given the fact that Portland’s soggy weather makes wet roads even more treacherous for riders, motorcycle accidents do take place frequently.

Add in the fact that despite a motorcyclist being as safe as possible, they must still share the road with car drivers, who can cause all kinds of accident problems due to drunk and distracted driving, a lack of motorcycle awareness, dangerous roads and a host of other conditions that challenge motorcycle riders on a daily basis.

When a motorcycle accident takes place involving another vehicle that is at fault, a rider is going to require the services of an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer.

Although motorcycle accidents share many similarities with car accidents, there are some differences worth noting.

Just like a car accident, proving negligence on the part of the defendant is the key to winning a suit. But courts also take into consideration the added risks of riding a motorcycle and hold car drivers to a different standard when a motorcycle is involved.

They take into account that a driver must be more vigilant because there is much less stability and protection on a motorcycle than when driving a car. Courts also consider that motorcycle drivers face increased vulnerability to road hazards including road debris, poor drivers and other related factors.

When looking at negligence, courts will be favorable toward a motorcycle rider because they are required to have specialized skills to ride.

All of these standards combine to place the burden of vigilance more squarely on the shoulders of drivers when sharing the road with motorcycle riders.

Johnson & Taylor Law proudly serves Portland, Salem and surrounding Oregon communities.

There are many possible defendants in a truck accident case

The bigger the vehicle, the bigger the chances are for a catastrophic accident. That’s why big rig truck accidents are the most frightening and devastating types of accidents, not only in Portland, but on all of our nation’s roadways.

Overall, it’s been shown that truck drivers are less likely to be involved in an accident than automobiles. Still, in a typical year, more than 5,000 people will die in an accident involving a commercial truck, and another 100,000 people will suffer injuries. But the fact that a fully loaded rig can weigh more than 25 times as much as a typical car means that the sheer differences in weights when a car is involved will result in more serious injuries and fatalities.

When a person is involved in an accident with a truck resulting in injuries or death, the first thing an experienced truck accident attorney must do is determine if there is cause to compensate the victims for their losses. This compensation can take the form of payment for medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other related types of recovery.

If the circumstances warrant, then the attorney must identify potential defendants. While the driver of the truck is a natural possibility, the list of defendants may be much longer than that.

If the driver was using a rig that had safety issues that had not been addressed, then the company that owns the rig could be held liable as well. If a link can be shown between the driver and the company in other ways, and that the driver was acting in the course of the relationship between him and the company, a liability link may exist as well.

An accident that took place on a roadway that was under construction or was somehow shown to be unsafe may mean the government entity in charge of oversight of that roadway could be held liable too.

In some instances, the contents of a truck are hazardous, and the owners of the contents could be held liable as well.

Once the defendants are clearly identified, then the attorney must prove negligence existed on their part to be able to collect damages on behalf of the plaintiff.
Johnson & Taylor Law proudly serves Portland, Salem and surrounding Oregon communities.

What to look for when you want the best possible personal injury attorney

If you’re looking to retain the best possible personal injury attorney in the greater Portland area, there are several things you should take into consideration:

Experience. Personal injury law is a very specialized area of practice. Because of this, experience does count in comparison to other more general parts of the legal system. An experienced personal injury attorney is going to have a deep understanding of the role of negligence, causation, statutes of limitation and other areas that will be relevant to your situation. As part of your screening process, make sure you ask about similar cases that the attorney has handled, their success rate and if they have experience in the particular court system you want your case heard.

Reputation. Many times, a battle is won before it is even fought. An attorney with an outstanding reputation, or one who is known for aggressive fighting for their clients when dealing with insurance companies, health care providers and opposing attorneys may be able to gain advantages that can translate to a bigger settlement in a shorter amount of time.

Objectivity. Personal injury cases are often fraught with emotion, and an attorney who is able to cut through the volatile nature of things and focus on the facts will score big points in front of a judge, jury and opposing lawyers. That objectivity also means you’re more likely to get a get a full settlement as well, instead of an attorney who is just out for a quick payday.

Focus. It is in your best interests to find an attorney who focuses almost exclusively on personal injury cases. That focus means that their skills and mindset will be fully engaged when dealing with your case, and that they will be up-to-date regarding personal injury laws and cases.

Negotiation skills. Most all personal injury cases are settled before they go to trial. While a good attorney must be ready to go to trial, in the vast majority of instances, attorneys for both the plaintiff and the defendant will end up negotiating a settlement. An attorney who is skilled in negotiating stands the best chance of winning a settlement that is the most favorable for their client.

Johnson & Taylor Law proudly serves Portland, Salem and surrounding Oregon communities.