Recent Legislation: Oregon Health Authority & Probate

From time to time we will publish recent cases and legislation: 

Oregon House Bill 2009 (pdf)

The governor of Oregon signed House Bill 2009 on June 26, 2009. Since this bill included an emergency clause, it is effective immediately.   Along with creating a new agency, the Oregon Health Authority, it amends several sections of the Oregon probate code. 

Below is a list of the eight sections of the probate code that HB 2009 amended and a brief summary of the changes.

1.     Bill Section 76 amends ORS 113.085. The Oregon Health Authority (OHA) is now fifth in line to be named personal representative if the decedent received medical assistance pursuant to ORS 414.

2.     Bill Section 77 amends ORS 113.105 and provides that if the OHA is the personal representative, it does not need to post a bond.

3.     Bill Section 78 amends ORS 113.145 and requires the personal representative to mail the OHA a copy of the death certificate as well as the same information that the personal representative is required to mail to the heirs and devisees under ORS 113.145(1) (title of the court, name of the decedent, personal representative’s contact info., whether there was a will, etc.). This mailing requirement is the same mailing that we send to the Department of Human Services under ORS 113.145. This is a requirement regardless of whether the personal representative believes that the estate owes any debt to the OHA or not. 

4.     Bill Section 79 amends ORS 114.525. The small estate affidavit must now include the following language:  "A copy of the affidavit showing the date of filing will be mailed or delivered to the Department of Human Services and the Oregon Health Authority.”

5.     Bill Section 80 amends ORS 114.535. If the OHA files a small estate affidavit, this amendment allows the OHA to issue certified copies of the small estate affidavit.

6.     Bill Section 81 amends ORS 115.125 and makes the OHA ninth on the list of debt priority.

7.     Bill Section 82 amends ORS 116.093. If the OHA is a creditor of the estate and not paid in full, the personal representative must mail a copy of the final account to the appropriate department of the OHA and proof of mailing must be filed in the estate proceeding before the approval of the final account.

8.     Bill Section 83 amends ORS 116.253. This section deals with property when it escheats to the state. Specifically, the amended subsection applies to property that escheats from inmates of a state mental institution. Under the amendment, the OHA will have the authority to determine the amount of the reasonable unpaid cost of care that may be offset against the escheated property.

In addition to amendments to the probate code, HB 2009 makes two minor amendments to the trust code. ORS 130.370 is amended to require a trustee to notify the OHA in the same manner the trustee notifies other parties that might have a claim against the trust estate.  ORS 130.425 is amended to make the OHA ninth on the list of priority of payment to creditors.