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Losing a loved one is never easy. Even when there was a chance to say your goodbyes, you will need time to come to grips with your loss. However, it is important to keep the probate process in mind.
When someone dies, their property is expected to be distributed to their heirs or survivors. If a court of law helps in this distribution, the property is said to go through probate.
The main idea behind the Kentucky probate process is to distribute the estate of the deceased according to their wishes while also paying any applicable taxes and debts. How the process goes will largely depend on whether the deceased left a will or not.
Regardless, the process will involve several legal rules and the filing of numerous forms. The complexities of probate law and the process will require the guidance of a skilled Kentucky probate lawyer such as the team at Triplett & Carothers.
Perhaps you are unsure of what the process should look like or your rights and responsibilities. Perhaps you simply do not know where to begin. Our Kentucky probate lawyers are accomplished legal professionals with years of experience.
Providing comprehensive advice, along with thoughtful, personal service, we have guided many through the probate process efficiently and effectively. We can help you, too.
The Kentucky probate process
The Kentucky probate process begins immediately after death. Under the Kentucky Revised Statute, there is a process that is meant to settle the estate of the deceased.
Under the process, the deceased may be known by several names including decedent and testator, where a will was left. All the property that the decedent leaves behind is what makes up the estate to be administered under the probate process.
The process of settling the estate involves winding up the financial assets of the deceased, collecting assets, paying debts (and taxes) and distributing the remaining assets amongst the heirs.
Where there is a will, the distribution of assets will be according to the terms of the will. In the absence of a will, the assets will be distributed in accordance with Kentucky probate law. Under the law, assets will be distributed in the following order:
- To the surviving spouse of the decedent who receives half of the estate
- The remaining half to the children of the decedent and their descendants.
If none of the above exists, the court will look at the following until someone is alive to inherit:
- The deceased’s father and mother;
- Brothers and sisters and their descendants; or
- The deceased’s husband or wife; or
- Grandparents: or
- Aunts and uncles and their descendants; or
- Great-grandparents; or
- Brothers and sisters of the deceased’s grandparents etc.
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For over 27 years, our attorneys have proudly served communities throughout Kentucky and Southern Indiana.
Rosalyn A. Carothers
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“Roz and her team were a pleasure to work with. They did a great job explaining legal jargon in a way I could understand. I felt that they worked efficiently all the while taking the time necessary to answer all my questions. I would definitely recommend their services to anyone looking for quality service at an excellent value.”
“For the past 17 years, Roz has handled the estate planning for our extended family. Her expertise, thoughtfulness, and guidance has been most appreciated. I recommend her to all my friends and other family members.”
“Estate planning with Triplett & Carothers was a great experience. I looked at using some of the online legal services, but after speaking with Ms. Carothers about my situation, I realized a professional attorney was the right route to go versus standardized online legal forms. Ms. Carothers was very flexible and professional...”
“Thank you, Rosalyn, for making this a simple and efficient experience. You were extremely thorough, and answered every question and scenario we presented to you. We will highly recommend you to friends and family.”
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Reach Out To Us For Guidance
we simplify the complexities of life & death decisions
The death of a loved one can be overwhelming. People often wonder what the next step is, and the one after that, as well. Our Louisville probate lawyers can guide you through the probate process.
Dispensing With Administration
Certain individuals are allowed to ask the court for direct transfer of estate assets without further court proceedings. This process is known as dispensing with administration and it may be initiated regardless of whether the decedent left a will or not.
The process can only be initiated by filing form AOC-830 when it is filed by any of the following individuals, in that order:
- The surviving spouse, if the decedent’s estate is no more than $15,000;
- The surviving children, if the decedent’s estate is no more than $15,000 and there is no surviving spouse;
- Preferred creditors. The claims recognized as preferred are funeral expenses and debts or taxes with a preference under Kentucky or federal law.
If you feel this process would make more sense for the estate, you should speak with a Kentucky probate lawyer for proper guidance.
Fiduciaries Under the Probate Process
The most important individuals under the probate process are called fiduciaries. They are appointed by the court to handle the decedent’s estate. Three kinds of fiduciaries are most important here. They are executors, administrators, and guardians.
An executor is a person named in the will by the decedent. One or more people can be named as executor and their duty is usually to carry out the wishes in the will. The appointment will be confirmed by the court.
An administrator is usually appointed by the court to settle the estate of a decedent that left no will. The estate will be settled in accordance with the probate law. Both administrator and executor are regarded as personal representatives of the decedent.
A guardian is usually appointed to handle funds to be inherited by a minor. This often happens where the decedent leaves no will and their minor children inherit. It could also happen where the minor was named in the will but no guardian was named.
The fiduciaries are directly accountable to the court. They must file periodic reports with the court and ultimately file a final settlement showing what funds came into the estate and how the funds were spent.
“The death of a loved one can be overwhelming. Our experienced Kentucky probate lawyers can guide you through the often complex probate process.”
Our Kentucky Probate Lawyers Can Help You
It is important to keep in mind that the probate process is meant to be swift and simple, under Kentucky law. However, due to the several stages and procedures involved, it may be easy to overlook vital steps. Avoid confusion by contacting a qualified Louisville probate lawyer early on.