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J. Warren
J. Warren, Attorney
Category: Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 2211
Experience:  Experience in estate planning including wills, trusts and succession planning.
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My cousin just died in Oregon. He had no living spouse,

Customer Question

My cousin just died in Oregon. He had no living spouse, children, sibling, or parent. One of his grandparents and all their children ( aunts, uncles) are dead. We are their issue (blood cousins to deceased). On the other side we heard all Aunts and Uncles are deceased but have no contact with any of their issue ( cousins on maternal side ). We know there is some kind of trust setup also. Lawyer of deceased was surprised to hear there were any relatives. Presumably it's the executors job to find us, but how, and how do we prove our relationship? Also, how can we find out exactly what is going on with the probate and the possible trust? Could a lawyer help us with this and about what would it cost?
Submitted: 11 months ago.
Category: Estate Law
Expert:  J. Warren replied 11 months ago.

Hello my name is ***** ***** I look forward to providing you information. Please note:

(1) this is general information and is not legal advice. I never propose a specific course of action. There is no attorney-client relationship or privilege that is formed when communicating to an expert on this site. The site repeats this disclaimer numerous times. By continuing, you confirm that you understand and agree to these terms; and

(2) there may be a slight delay between your follow ups and my reply while I am typing out my answer.

I am sorry to hear about your situation and the loss of a family member. First, establishing one is a relative of a deceased is typically done by tracing ones genealogy which may begin with a birth certificate creating the lineage. If the relationship is contested, typically an expert is used to trace lineage and establish that indeed a person is an heir. In short a professional genealogist is used to prove heirship.

If a probate was opened then a copy of the will may be obtained from the probate clerk of the court in the County in which the probate is opened and the decedent resided. Now, if there is a trust, a trust does not go through probate. The trustee is required to provided a copy of the trust to named beneficiaries.in the trust agreement. If the trustee does not due so they breach their fiduciary duty and may be sued and held liable to failure to comply with the trust administration statute.

A lawyer can help you with resolving this matter. It is difficult to establish a price range. If the matter becomes heavily contested obviously the cost will escalate quickly. However, I would be prepared to pay a retainer to a lawyer to assist with this type of matter of $3000. That will on average cover 10-15 hours of billable time which should be sufficient to assist with this type of matter provided the other side does not begin to misbehave or contest the issue of genealogy.

To assist you with retaining a local attorney the Oregon State Bar has a lawyer referral service: https://www.osbar.org/public/ris/. A probate or trust administration lawyer would be the type of matter this would fall under.

All my best & encouragement.

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All states have intricacies in their laws and any information given is simply information only and specifically is not intended to be, nor does it constitute, legal advice. This communication does not establish an attorney-client relationship with you.