Oregon Wills Requirements

By Beverly Bird

Although there are many similarities between the laws of various states, each state puts its own unique stamp on what it considers as a legal will. In general, a will must be valid in the state where it is made, regardless of where you die. Chapter 112 of Volume 3 of the Oregon Revised Statutes contain the state’s wills provisions. But these are only guidelines as to what the state will accept, so you it may be a good idea to consult an attorney about your personal estate needs if your estate is large or complex.


Under Statute 112.225, you must be at least 18 years old to make a will in Oregon. The exception is if you are or have been married. If you are married, divorced or widowed before you turn 18 years of age, you have the right to bequeath your own assets in the event of your death.

Legal Capacity

In Oregon, legal capacity assumes that you have never been declared mentally incompetent by any court prior to making your will. Beyond that, if someone were to contest your will, she would have to prove that either you did not understand the meaning of what you were signing, or were somehow coerced into the provisions contained in it.

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An Oregon will must have two witnesses. Oregon Revised Statutes 112.245 does not prohibit a beneficiary from being a witness. Your witnesses must sign your will in your presence.


If you cannot make your signature on your will, Oregon will allow someone else to do it for you. Either one of your witnesses or another party of your choice can sign your name, provided she also signs her own name and writes on the will that she has done this at your request.


Oregon wills must be typewritten or printed. Holographic wills -- wills written in your handwriting and without witness signatures -- are not accepted, nor are oral wills.

Limitations and Protections

Oregon grants a surviving spouse an elective share of your estate, meaning that she can choose to take up to 50 percent of your assets, subject to certain terms and conditions, instead of whatever you bequeathed her if what you bequeathed her is less. This excludes property you co-own with anyone else, and life insurance policies or retirement benefits that have another named beneficiary.


Codicils to your will -- additional statements or provisions made to add or revoke parts of the will -- are subject to all the same requirements that wills are.

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A Self-Made Last Will & Testament in Oregon

If you're an Oregon resident, you can execute a valid self-made last will and testament, provided you adhere to the state's laws concerning will formalities. If you don't execute your will according to Oregon's prescribed formalities, your will could end up being declared invalid. If that happens, your property is then divided among your heirs according to Oregon's laws of intestate succession.

What States Accept Holographic Wills?

A holographic -- also called "olographic" in Louisiana -- will is written in the handwriting of the testator, or the person making the will. Not all states recognize a holographic will as valid. The states that do recognize them have differing requirements for what constitutes a proper holographic will. For instance, some states require that the entire will be handwritten, while others require only that "material provisions" be in the testator's handwriting.

Tennessee Laws on Wills

Tennessee’s laws regarding wills are specific and exact. If your will is deemed invalid by the court for not meeting one of the state’s many requirements, your possessions will be distributed as though you had left no will at all. Although you can certainly write your own will, it is advisable that an attorney look at it to make sure it conforms to Tennessee’s statutes so your chosen beneficiaries receive exactly what you intended them to.

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