2015 ORS 113.085¹
Preference in appointing personal representative

(1) Except as provided in subsection (2) of this section, upon the filing of the petition, if there is no will or there is a will and it has been proved, the court shall appoint a qualified person it finds suitable as personal representative, giving preference in the following order:

(a) The executor named in the will.

(b) The surviving spouse of the decedent or the nominee of the surviving spouse of the decedent.

(c) The nearest of kin of the decedent or the nominee of the nearest of kin of the decedent.

(d) The Director of Human Services or the Director of the Oregon Health Authority, or an attorney approved under ORS 113.086 (Approval of attorneys who are eligible to be personal representative for decedent who received Medicaid or other public assistance), if the decedent received public assistance as defined in ORS 411.010 (Definitions), received medical assistance as defined in ORS 414.025 (Definitions for ORS chapters 411, 413 and 414) or received care at an institution described in ORS 179.321 (Responsibility to supervise state institutions) (1) and it appears that the assistance or the cost of care may be recovered from the estate of the decedent.

(e) The Department of Veterans’ Affairs, if the decedent was a protected person under ORS 406.050 (Additional powers and duties of director or department) (10), and the department has joined in the petition for such appointment.

(f) Any other person.

(2) Except as provided in subsection (3) of this section, the court shall appoint the Department of State Lands as personal representative if it appears that the decedent died wholly intestate and without known heirs. The Attorney General shall represent the Department of State Lands in the administration of the estate. Any funds received by the Department of State Lands in the capacity of personal representative may be deposited in accounts, separate and distinct from the General Fund, established with the State Treasurer. Interest earned by such account shall be credited to that account.

(3) The court may appoint a person other than the Department of State Lands to administer the estate of a decedent who died wholly intestate and without known heirs if the person filing a petition under ORS 113.035 (Petition for appointment of personal representative and probate of will) attaches written authorization from an estate administrator of the Department of State Lands appointed under ORS 113.235 (Appointment of estate administrators by Director of Department of State Lands) approving the filing of the petition by the person. Except as provided by rule adopted by the Director of the Department of State Lands, an estate administrator may consent to the appointment of another person to act as personal representative only if it appears after investigation that the estate is insolvent. [1969 c.591 §88; 1971 c.421 §1; 1971 c.675 §1; 1973 c.370 §1; 1987 c.158 §17a; 1987 c.425 §1; 1989 c.966 §2; 1995 c.106 §2; 2001 c.102 §3; 2001 c.900 §15; 2003 c.395 §12; 2005 c.381 §20; 2005 c.625 §56; 2009 c.595 §76; 2009 c.602 §2; 2009 c.828 §7; 2011 c.720 §57; 2013 c.36 §33; 2013 c.688 §14; 2015 c.381 §5]

Atty. Gen. Opinions

Division of State Lands authority to dispose of money and prop­erty of intestate decedent without heirs, (1974) Vol 37, p 255

1 Legislative Counsel Committee, CHAPTER 113—Initiation of Estate Proceedings, https://­www.­oregonlegislature.­gov/­bills_laws/­ors/­ors113.­html (2015) (last ac­cessed Jul. 16, 2016).
2 Legislative Counsel Committee, Annotations to the Oregon Revised Stat­utes, Cumulative Supplement - 2015, Chapter 113, https://­www.­oregonlegislature.­gov/­bills_laws/­ors/­ano113.­html (2015) (last ac­cessed Jul. 16, 2016).
3 OregonLaws.org assembles these lists by analyzing references between Sections. Each listed item refers back to the current Section in its own text. The result reveals relationships in the code that may not have otherwise been apparent.