If you are here to learn about Kentucky probate after the passing of a loved one, we first want to say that we are very sorry for your loss. We hope that the information you find on this page will simplify any legal and administrative headaches you might otherwise face during such a difficult time.
Are you responsible for handling probate and estate administration for someone’s estate? You are wise to seek out an attorney’s help. We at Ruberg Law PLLC can simplify the legal processes for you after your family member’s death.
From law offices in Crestview Hills, we represent clients throughout northern Kentucky. We are available to guide you calmly and confidently. We can explain the steps for administering your loved one’s estate.
With that said, being the executor or executrix (personal representative) for a loved one’s estate is an honor. It is also intimidating to many people. Our guidance, as experienced probate lawyers, can be essential.
Probate in Kentucky is a court-supervised procedure that ensures the legal transfer of assets from the deceased to the rightful heirs or beneficiaries. Probate is also necessary to:
- Prove the validity of the Will
- Appoint someone to manage the estate (The “administrator” if there is no will or the “executor” if there is one)
- Inventory and appraise the estate property
- Pay any debts or taxes (including estate taxes)
- Distribute the property as direct by the Will—or by the state law if there is no will
How is a Probate Started in Kentucky?
Although any beneficiary or creditor can initiate probate, normally, the person named in the Will as the executor starts the process by filing the original Will and a Petition with the probate court. If there is no will, typically, a close relative of the decedent who expects to inherit from the estate will file the Petition.
How is the Executor Chosen?
If the decedent had a Will, the person named in the Will as the executor will serve, if eligible. If that person is unable or unwilling to serve as an executor, or if there is no Will, then an interested family member or person can petition the Court to be the Estate’s administrator.
My loved one Had a Trust…Will We Need to Go Through Probate?
In most cases, no. Suppose your loved one’s assets are owned in the name of a Trust. In that case, the family can contact a lawyer who will complete some paperwork and guide the loved ones through the process with ease without the need for court involvement.
What Assets are Subject to Probate?
Assets owned solely in the name of the deceased person are subject to probate. Assets that pass through title, such as real estate titled “Joint Tenants with Right of Survivorship,” or bank accounts titled “Transfer on Death,” are not subject to the probate process. Assets that pass using a beneficiary designation, such as life insurance or some retirement accounts, are also not subject to probate. However, in some situations, assets that would otherwise pass by title or beneficiary designation can be subject to the probate process. Talk to an attorney if you have questions about your specific situation.
How is Distribution of the Estate Handled If There Is No Will?
If there is no will or trust, the estate will be distributed according to Kentucky intestacy laws, which state that a person’s estate will be distributed in the following order: 1. Spouse 2. Children 3. Parents (if you have no children) 4. Siblings (if you have no children or parents).
How Long Does Probate Take?
The length of time of probate will depend on several factors. It usually takes a minimum of six months and can take up to two years or even longer for complex cases.
Getting Help: Choosing the Right Attorney for Your Probate Case
The best way to ensure your probate is done right is to choose your attorney wisely. Do not assume that all attorneys are the same! Too many lawyers only “dabble” in probate or trusts.
You don’t have to use the attorney who prepared the Will either! Just because a particular attorney prepared the Will, does not mean that attorney must handle the probate, nor are they necessarily the right person for the job. You need to be comfortable with the attorney and confident that they are the right attorney for you. Choosing your probate or trust lawyer is one of the most important decisions you will make. If you put in the time and effort to find the right lawyer, you will be rewarded with a skillful guide who will help you navigate the probate process.
Contact Ruberg Law for a Complimentary Post-Death Estate Review
If you’re ready to get started with the probate process after the passing of a loved one, please contact our experienced Kenton, Boone, and Campbell County probate attorneys at 859-344-6742 or using the form below to help determine your next best steps. We are here in service to making this all as easy as possible for you.
We will answer all of your questions about probate during this appointment and guide you and your family through the next best steps. We are committed to helping you administer your loved one’s estate as quickly and efficiently as possible. And we look forward to relieving any administrative or legal burdens you may face during this time of loss.