Category: Estate Planning

How To Prepare Your Estate to Avoid Mistakes and Long Delays In Probate…

Most people are quick to think that only the wealthy have estates to leave to their loved ones when they pass, but that isn’t true. Everyone has an estate that is made of all of their assets. If you have a vast estate or just a few assets to leave behind, it is important that you take the time to learn the basics of estate planning. This is your first step in the process of giving your spouse, families, church, charities, or community a piece of your estate after your passing.

What Role Does A Probate Play In Estate Planning?

When people fail to properly do their estate planning, the courts are forced to carry out a process called probate. Probate is the legal process where the court will oversee how a deceased person’s estate is distributed.

The steps of a probate are as follows:

  • Identifying any debts and existing assets
  • Paying off those debts
  • Distributing the remainder of their assets

Will All Estates See Probate?

For most after-death distribution of assets that belong to estates, some level of probate will occur. While there are estates that do not see probate, the courts usually verify trusts, wills, and any other documents pertaining to estate planning. Courts can appoint a personal representative that will oversee the estate and distribute assets. Typically, estates will have their own appointed executor(s) named before the testator passes.

Probate Can Be Timely

Regardless of if the courts are in complete control of administering an estate or if they have very little involvement, probate can take a long time– some even take years. There are quite a few reasons that some probates take more time than others.

These include situations such as:

  • The testator did not choose a good executor
  • Beneficiaries are not agreeing or getting along
  • The estate includes several wills
  • The IRS requires the estate to file their federal estate tax returns
  • Beneficiaries do not live near each other
  • The estate includes unusual or rare assets that are difficult to distribute
  • There are many beneficiaries listed
  • The estate has assets in several states or other countries

It might seem that a probate can be unnecessarily long and drawn out, however, the courts only spend that amount of time to be absolutely sure that executors are distributing the assets as evenly and fairly as they possibly can. Want to avoid a long, drawn-out probate? Take the time to properly plan your estate. Your loved ones will thank you.

Contact us (859-341-2500) for a Free Consultation!

About Grubbs & Landry

At Grubbs & Landry, PLLC, we are dedicated to personal and friendly service. We manage our practice in an ethical, cost-effective manner to best help our clients resolve their legal issues with the least expense possible. We pride ourselves in advocating for our client in divorce, child custody, and child support matters as well as other family law matters. We are active in prosecuting personal injury cases-recovering for the injuries our clients sustain due to the negligence of others. Additionally, we help our clients prepare for the future through the preparation of Wills, Power of Attorney and Living Will.

The 4 Main Steps For Settling an Estate After Death Through Probate in Kentucky…

Kentucky has a lenient time requirement for probate. According to the Kentucky Revised Statutes 395.010, it must be completed within 10 years after the person’s death. However, it is better to file soon after the person’s death and to complete the probate process as quickly as possible. A probate court is a court that has competence in a jurisdiction to deal with matters of probate and the administration of estates. Since state death taxes are no longer treated as a credit for federal estate taxes, there is no Kentucky estate tax. Below is the process for settling an estate in Kentucky.

A Petition To Open Probate Must Be Filed With The Court

A hearing is held for the court to approve someone to act as executor. The executor has the job of notifying the heirs and creditors. They will need to publish a notification in a local newspaper. This is done with the county court clerk. If the decedent left a will, the original document must be filed with the petition.

Inventory Filing

The Kentucky probate process requires the executor file an inventory of the estate probate assets within 60 days after being appointed by the court. This often involves writing down every personal item that was listed in the decedent’s will or every item of significant value that was left behind in his or her residence. The idea is that 60 days should provide the executor time to complete an investigation of the assets to report in the inventory. Sometimes assets are not fully discovered during this 60-day period and the inventory is filed with the best available information. The inventory can be amended later with more complete information, if needed.

Settling The Estate

The executor must file an accounting of the estate’s receipts and disbursements. Then the money that is distributed, such as funeral and burial expenses, final medical bills, and debts must be recorded.  After all the estate taxes and fees are paid, the remaining estate is distributed to the heirs. The executor then prepares and files a final settlement with the court.

Closing The Kentucky Probate Process

After all the administration tasks have been completed for an estate, the estate needs to be closed with the probate court, at which time the executor will be discharged and relieved from further responsibility in the estate matter. In Kentucky, estates can be closed by either an Informal Final Settlement process or a Formal Final Settlement process.

If you are an executor, probate can be a confusing process, so you are wise to start knowing every step of probate. If you’d like some guidance as you go through the process, a probate lawyer can help. A probate lawyer is a state-licensed attorney with experiencing helping executors settle an estate.

Contact us (859-341-2500) for a Free Consultation!

About Grubbs & Landry

At Grubbs & Landry, PLLC, we are dedicated to personal and friendly service. We manage our practice in an ethical, cost-effective manner to best help our clients resolve their legal issues with the least expense possible. We pride ourselves in advocating for our client in divorce, child custody, and child support matters as well as other family law matters. We are active in prosecuting personal injury cases-recovering for the injuries our clients sustain due to the negligence of others. Additionally, we help our clients prepare for the future through the preparation of Wills, Power of Attorney and Living Will.