A Self-Made Last Will & Testament in Oregon

By Andrine Redsteer

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.

Mental Capacity

Oregon, like other states, has laws that dictate how a will must be executed. In other words, the state mandates that "testators," or will makers, adhere to certain formalities when making a will. In Oregon, a testator must be at least 18 years old and have "testamentary capacity;" this means she must be mentally capable of identifying the significance of making a last will and testament.


Oregon law requires wills to be witnessed by at least two people; your witnesses must watch you sign your will and must sign your will in your presence and in the presence of one another. Some states don't allow a will to be witnessed by a person who stands to benefit from the will in some way. However, Oregon allows for "interested" witnesses, meaning one or both of the witnesses can also be a beneficiary of the will.

Protect your loved ones. Start My Estate Plan

Holgraphic Will Vs. Self-Made Will

Oregon residents are allowed to make their own wills -- that is, an Oregon resident may make a will without hiring an attorney. The state's laws explain that a will must be written. In other words, a will cannot be oral, but it can be self-made as long as it's in writing. Oregon does not, however, recognize holographic wills, which are wills that are handwritten by a testator, but not witnessed. Thus, as an Oregon resident, you can execute a valid self-made will, provided it's typed or written by hand and witnessed.

Property Division

If you're considering executing a self-made will, understanding how you may divide property is important. Oregon allows testators to completely disinherit children; however, a testator may not completely disinherit his spouse. This is because some property acquired during marriage is considered shared by both spouses. For example, if you're married and you attempt to bequeath the marital home you share with your spouse to a third party, a probate court may declare the bequest invalid. In other words, you can't devise or bequeath property that isn't 100 percent yours.

No Contest Clauses and Invalid Wills

If you're going to execute a self-made will in Oregon, the law allows you to include a "no contest" clause. When included in a will, these clauses prohibit beneficiaries from contesting the will, lest they lose their inheritance. If your will is left open for contest due to failure to comply with state law -- that is, if you lacked capacity or failed to have your will witnessed -- and an Oregon probate court finds it invalid, your property is then divided pursuant to the state's laws of intestate succession.

Intestate Succession

Laws of intestate succession provide a default scheme for the division of property if a person dies without a will or with an invalid will. Oregon's laws of intestate succession provide that a surviving spouse has priority over other relatives. Thus, if you make an invalid will or fail to make a will, your surviving spouse will inherit your entire estate; if you have children and a surviving spouse, your children and surviving spouse will inherit your estate.

Protect your loved ones. Start My Estate Plan
Illinois Laws on Wills


Related articles

How to Prove a Will When Your Subscribing Witnesses Are All Dead or Unavailable

Wills can be an effective estate planning tool for distributing property after your death. But, for its terms to be honored when you pass away, most states require someone who was present at the time the will was signed to attest to the document's validity. Knowing how a will can be verified if all witnesses either pass away or cannot be found will help ensure that your property passes according to your wishes.

Holographic Wills in Colorado

Your will can name someone to manage your estate, dictate who should inherit your property and even nominate guardians to look after your minor children when you die. However, your will cannot do any of these things if it is not valid under your state’s laws. Colorado allows holographic wills, but each must meet certain standards under Colorado law.

How to Contest a Will in Florida

After the death of a loved one, both family members and Florida courts want to ensure that the estate is distributed according to the decedent's wishes. As a result, Florida law allows people to challenge wills in cases of undue influence, fraud or mental incapacity. Knowing how a will may be challenged may help you understand the importance of following the state's laws when drafting your own will.

LegalZoom. Legal help is here. Start Here. Wills. Trusts. Attorney help.

Related articles

Are Homemade Wills Legal in Texas?

Texas does not require you to have an attorney draft your will, so you can write one yourself at home or complete one ...

Advice on Contesting Wills

A will contest or a will challenge is a court case brought to dispute the validity of a will, according to FindLaw. In ...

Montana Law Governing Last Wills & Testaments

Montana's Uniform Probate Code governs wills throughout the state. Like other states, Montana mandates specific ...

How to Contest a Will in Colorado

To contest a will in Colorado, as in other states, you must be an "interested party," which means you must stand to ...

Browse by category
Ready to Begin? GET STARTED