Kentucky Wills and Probate
Losing a spouse, parent, other family member or close friend is hard enough. But wading through the complex process of settling that person's affairs adds stress and frustration during a time when you are grieving. There are numerous forms to file, debts and taxes to settle, fees to pay, and deadlines to meet—and a single snag can prove costly should something slip through the cracks. That is why so many people make the wise decision to partner with a Kentucky wills and probate attorney.
What Is Involved in the Probate Process?
The Kentucky probate process is the official means for settling an estate—the money, property and other assets a person leaves behind when he or she dies. The process is tedious and time-sensitive, and there is more to it than just a reading of the will, though the first step is to locate the will and file it with the court. The next step is "proving" the will. In Kentucky, wills are considered "self-proven" if they were signed by the decedent and two witnesses before a notary, and the will contains the specific language required by law. Wills that do not meet these criteria need to be proven by a witness before a judge. In the case of a handwritten will, the identity of the person who wrote the will must be proven.
The next step is to administer the estate, a responsibility that falls on the personal representative who takes control of the assets. The representative, or executor, has 60 days to prepare and file with the court an inventory of assets with their value at the time of the decedent's death. The executor must then pay the estate's debts and taxes before filing a final settlement with the court. The settlement cannot be filed sooner than six months after the representative is named and sometimes can take years. Formal settlements require detailed documentation of disbursements and payments, including receipts and canceled checks. But even informal settlements include a myriad of paperwork in the form of notarized waivers and other documents. Read more information about the Kentucky probate process.
What Services Do Will Attorneys in Kentucky Offer?
While we often think of the will as the cornerstone of estate planning, it is just one of several tools wills lawyers rely on to ensure their clients' estates are settled as smoothly as possible. Some services performed by probate lawyers include:
- Drafting traditional and living wills
- Drafting codicils (changes to a will)
- Interpreting wills
- Setting up trusts
- Protecting and inventorying assets
- Strategizing tax issues
- Creating powers of attorney
- Exploring guardianship and conservatorship issues
- Resolving disputes by litigation or alternative resolution
Find out more about some of the costs associated with the probate process.
Contact a Kentucky Wills and Probate Lawyer Today
There is no such thing as being too thorough when it comes to planning your own estate or settling someone else's. Whether you are just beginning to consider drafting a will or are knee-deep in the probate process, partnering with an attorney who is skilled in these areas is a wise move. Call now to speak with a wills and probate lawyer in Kentucky at 877-913-7222.