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Oregon Estates Administration Program

Oregon Estates Administration Program

When individuals die without a will or known heirs, Oregon’s Estates Administration Program protects their assets and administers their estates until the rightful heirs are located. Administering an estate involves a diverse list of tasks, such as coordinating funeral arrangements; identifying, securing, and selling assets; paying creditors and estate taxes; and looking for heirs. All remaining funds are deposited in the Common School Fund, where they earn interest for Oregon’s K-12 education, until claimed.

Learn more about Oregon’s Estate Administration Program:

Reporting Requirements

Whenever someone dies without known heirs and a valid will, anyone who is aware of this fact is required by state law to contact the Oregon State Treasurer’s office within 48 hours of acquiring that knowledge.

An heir is anyone entitled under federal or state law to someone else’s property when that person dies. Typically, heirs are relatives of the individual who died. A known heir is an heir that was identified and located.

Typical reporters include medical examiners, landlords, nursing homes, hospitals, funeral homes, law enforcement, and attorneys. However, anyone with knowledge of a deceased person without known heirs or a valid will must notify the program – including neighbors and friends.

How to Report

You may report by email or mail:

Estate Administrator
Oregon State Treasury
775 Summer Street NE, Suite 100
Salem OR 97301-1279
Email: Estates.escheat@ost.state.or.us

Report Details

Provide as much detailed information about the deceased as possible, including name, birthdate, date of death, last known address, and any known information about property, such as homes, vehicles, bank accounts and other valuables. Doing so helps program staff understand what assets need to be protected.

For more information, read our guidelines for filing a report.

Additional Requirements for Landlords

Before removing a deceased tenant’s personal property, landlords are required to send an abandoned property notice to Oregon Estates Administration Program at Oregon State Treasury. The notice must include whether the property (personal belongings, valuables, and vehicles) is worth less or more than $1,000. The Estates Administration Program will determine within eight days whether it will retrieve the property.

Complying with these requirements enables landlords to dispose of abandoned property in a timely manner and eliminates the risks of being held liable for disposal. Landlords who do not follow the law may be liable to twice the value of disposed property and receive additional financial penalties.

For sample notices we will accept, please refer to forms 25A from Oregon Rental Housing Association or SN539 from Steven-Ness Law Publishing Company. However, you do not need a special form to report to us; our only requirement is that you provide us in writing with all the information required in ORS 90.425 (21) and (27).

Requirements for Personal Representatives with Missing Heirs

A missing heir is a distributee that cannot be found or refuses their share of an estate. If you are administering an estate that has a missing heir, state law requires that you report this to Oregon State Treasury, Unclaimed Property Program. (ORS 113.045 (2))

When you are ready to finalize the estate and distribute funds, please provide the following:

  • A letter containing the missing heir’s name, last known address, any effort you went through to find them, and any additional information you have about the missing heir.
  • An order to escheat or final distribution that has been filed with the court, and that has the judge’s signature or the court’s stamp showing the date of receipt.
  • A copy of the will.
  • A copy of the death certificate. If you do not have a death certificate, provide the decedent’s date of death.
  • Any other information about the estate that will help us return the funds to the rightful heir.

Make the check payable to the "Oregon State Treasury" and mail along with the required documentation to:

Oregon State Treasury
Unclaimed Property Program
350 Winter St NE, Suite 100
Salem, OR 97301

If you have further questions, contact us at 503-986-5290 or holder@ost.state.or.us.

Requirements for Representative Payees

A representative payee is a person or an organization appointed to receive the social security or SSI benefits for anyone who cannot manage or direct the management of their own benefits.

Before reporting as unclaimed property unspent funds for an individual who died, first contact the Oregon Department of Human Services (DHS) Estates Administrative Unit to determine if they have a claim to the funds.

Remaining funds may be reported to Oregon State Treasury, Unclaimed Property Program. Please prepare a report on letterhead that includes the following:

  • Name of deceased
  • Last known address
  • Social security number
  • Date of birth
  • Date of death
  • Amount of funds that you are reporting

Make the check payable to the "Oregon State Treasury" and mail along with the required documentation to:

Oregon State Treasury
Unclaimed Property Program
350 Winter St NE, Suite 100
Salem, OR 97301

If you have further questions, contact us at 503-986-5290 or holder@ost.state.or.us.

Claiming an Estate

Heirs can claim assets ten years from the deceased’s date of death or eight years from the time a court issues an order to escheat.

If you believe you are the rightful heir of someone who died without a will or other heirs, you may contact the Oregon Estate Administration Program at Estates.escheat@ost.state.or.us or 503-986-5287. If a significant amount of time has passed since your relative died, the funds may be associated with your name as unclaimed property.

Program History

Oregon’s program was established by the Oregon State Constitution (Article VIII, Section2), but dates back to 1814, when Ewing Young, a trapper and cattleman “who had amassed a substantial estate in the Willamette Valley, died without leaving a will or apparent heirs. To dispose of his property, a committee of settlers met after his funeral in 1814. They appointed a missionary as temporary judge to probate Young’s estate using New York laws as model” (The Pacific Northwest An Interpretive History, by Carlos Arnaldo Schwanted, University of Nebraska Press 1996). The activities that followed Young’s death eventually led to the creation of Oregon’s provisional government in 1843.

Today, the program is subject to an extensive set of laws, including ORS. 111-116 and ORS. 90.425.

Additional Resources





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