Theressa Hollis

Theressa Hollis

Fitzwater Law
  • Probate, Estate Planning, Elder Law
  • Oregon
Claimed Lawyer ProfileQ&ASocial MediaResponsive Law

I’m a partner with Fitzwater Law and have practiced with this firm for 19 years. My practice emphasizes legal issues unique to the elderly and their families, including guardianship and conservatorship proceedings, probate estates, trust administration, and estate planning. Some of my favorite cases are the emergency (“temporary”) guardianships and conservatorships. I received my J.D. from Willamette University College of Law in 1998.

I value helping people in times of crisis by making the legal system understandable. I pride myself on being reliable and thorough in my work, while striving to take the mystery out of the legal process.

Elder law and estate planning is a perfect fit for me. Since my time as a psychology major at Linfield College I have enjoyed helping people in need. I am a frequent volunteer at the Legal Aid Service’s Senior Law Project providing pro bono legal help to seniors. I also enjoy teaching other attorneys to practice elder law. I am a faculty speaker for the Oregon Law Institute and the Multnomah Bar Association on the issues of probate administration and guardianships. I am currently the Treasurer of the Executive Committee for the Elder Law Section of the Oregon State Bar.

I enjoy applying my knowledge and skills to assist my community. I am the second-term President and founding board member of Guardian Partners, a non-profit organization dedicated to eliminating abuse and neglect for our elderly and disabled populations. I was a Co-Editor of the Oregon State Bar’s Elder Law Handbook (2017). Also in 2017, I was awarded the Oregon State Bar President’s Public Service Award for my volunteer service. I am a member of the following organizations: Oregon Women Lawyers (OWLS), Clackamas County Elder Abuse Coordinated Community Response Team, Guardian/Conservator Association of Oregon, and Oregon Working Interdisciplinary Network of Guardianship Stakeholders (WINGS).

Practice Areas
  • Probate
  • Estate Planning
  • Elder Law
Additional Practice Areas
  • Guardianship/Conservatorship
  • Trust Administration
  • Wills
  • Trusts
  • Powers of Attorney
  • Rates, Retainers and Additional Information
    We generally bill hourly but some estate planning is handled on a flat fee basis. Please contact me for more information.
Jurisdictions Admitted to Practice
Oregon State Bar
ID Number: 982626
  • English: Spoken, Written
Professional Experience
Fitzwater Law
- Current
Associate Attorney
Scalf & O'Halloran
Associate attorney in a general practice firm handling probate, guardianship and estate planning cases.
Willamette University College of Law
J.D. (1998) | Law
Linfield College
B.A. (1992) | Psychology & Spanish
President's Public Service Award
Oregon State Bar Association
Public Service Award Criteria: The nominee must have volunteered for the activity involved; must be an active or emeritus member of the Oregon State Bar; and must have made significant contributions to the public through recent efforts in one or more of the following areas: pro bono legal service to individuals or groups, law-related public education, coordination of public service law-related events (such as those associated with Law Day), service with community boards or organizations, or similar activities which benefit the public.
Professional Associations
Oregon State Bar Association # 982626
Oregon State Bar Elder Law Section
Guardian Partners
Board President
Guardian/Conservator Association of Oregon
Oregon Working Interdisciplinary Network of Guardian Stakeholders (WINGS)
Articles & Publications
Elder Law Handbook
Oregon State Bar
Speaking Engagements
Health Ed 2019, Portland, Oregon
PESI, Inc.
Fitzwater Law attorneys value giving back to Oregon’s social work community. On Friday, May 31 attorneys Wes Fitzwater, Chris Ray and Theressa Hollis will present at Oregon Elderlaw 2019. This all-day Health Ed presentation put on by PESI, Inc. (Professional Education Systems Institute) benefits social workers, nurses, case managers, psychologists and other professionals working with, caring for & advising the elderly & their families. Topics covered will include planning for health and financial decisions, the impact of the Affordable Care Act on Medicare, recent updates on Medicaid eligibility, understanding guardianship and conservatorship, and elder abuse, neglect and exploitation.
Websites & Blogs
Fitzwater Law Website
Fitzwater Law Blog
Legal Answers
13 Questions Answered

Q. Mom died 4 children as equal beneficiaries. One son executor. Do the others children have legal access to attorney.
A: In Oregon it's the Personal Representative (Executor in other states) who hires the attorney. That attorney is only able to give legal advice to the PR. Keep in mind that the PR has no authority until he/she is appointed by the Probate Court. If you have questions about the actions of the PR I recommend you hire your own probate attorney.
Q. If my father passed away in Oregon, do I have to use a lawyer in that state?
A: I'm sorry for your loss. It sounds like your father's probate is in Oregon so you need to have an attorney who is licensed in Oregon. However, you get to choose who you hire. If you and your current attorney are not working well together then you have every right to choose someone else to represent you. Also, many (most?) attorneys in Oregon do not require the estate checkbook to be held by the attorney. Nothing in Oregon law requires you to call your attorney before you pay an estate creditor.
Q. Do you have a template to create a WILL and POAs for the State of Oregon?
A: No, Oregon does not have a standard form for Wills or Powers of Attorney. I recommend you review your current estate plan with an experienced Oregon attorney who will help you determine if you need to make any updated.
Q. My brother died and left a will giving all to his son and daughter with me as executor. The main value of the estate
A: I'm sorry for your loss. It sounds like you likely need a probate assuming the Deed to the property does not include survivorship. Your brother's Will doesn't actually transfer anything, it is just instructions for the probate Court. You will need to be appointed by the Court as the Personal Representative of his estate to get Court approval to transfer the property to your niece and nephew. Give a local probate attorney a call.
Q. My uncle has property in Oregon it will be mine after his death but he hasn’t put it in the trust...he hates dealing
A: Your Uncle should consider speaking to an estate planning attorney about signing a Will. It is easier and less expensive than a Trust (although it will require a probate at his death). One alternative the attorney will discuss with your Uncle is a Payable on Death Deed. This may be a viable option if you don't need to sell the Oregon property for 18 months after your Uncle's death. Also, if your Uncle dies without a Will Oregon intestate law will control who gets this property. A niece/nephew may not be the default beneficiary depending on which of your Uncle's relatives are alive.
Q. A Dad had a lawyer draw up a will and signed the house deed over to his only daughter before passing. Is probate needed
A: Whether or not probate is needed will depend on the assets left in Dad's name at his death. If he really deeded his real property to his daughter then that asset should not need a probate. However, there could be other assets in his name that do not have joint owners or beneficiaries named. Also, it can be common to misunderstand Deeds so it is possible that the house wasn't really deeded to the daughter. I recommend that daughter contact a probate attorney for assistance.
Q. In Oregon, when a person dies without a will and without real property but is married, is probate required?
A: The answer to your question depends on how the $50,000 is being held. For example, if it is in a bank account with no other owners or beneficiaries named then you will need to file a Small Estate Affidavit. Is there a vehicle or mobile home? Is there a safe deposit box? It is possible to use a Stevens-Ness form for a small estate but I recommend you hire an attorney to assist you.
Q. I was given property damage check from home owner insurance and it’s wrote to the estate of my father,
A: I'm very sorry for your loss. I agree with Ms. Reisman's response. I recommend you try opening the account at a Credit Union - sometimes they can be easier to deal with. Also, I recommend you consider getting legal advice from a local attorney. That attorney can help you determine if any tax returns are required to be filed for your father or his estate.
Q. My wife's father bought 2 small lots (with nothing on them) with his girlfriend (at that time) in 2015
A: Your father-in-law's estate is not in probate until someone files legal documents with the Court. I am assuming the two lots were in Oregon. If you are correct and the Deeds do not include survivorship you need to hire an Oregon attorney to file either a full probate or a Small Estate Affidavit (depending on the value of the lots). Be aware that the girlfriend may have a claim for one-half of the property taxes she has paid. I hope this is helpful.
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Contact & Map
6400 SE Lake Rd
Ste. 440
Portland, OR 97015
Telephone: (503) 786-8191