An Overview of Wills and Trusts in Kentucky

By Joshua Berkley

Estate planning is the most important thing you can do for your family’s future. Even if you don’t have many assets, there are multiple benefits to executing an estate plan. Of all the estate planning documents, two most common are wills and trusts. In this article, we examine wills and trusts in Kentucky. 

Last Will and Testament

A will provides instructions on how a person’s property will be distributed after his or her death. If a person dies without a will, however, his or her estate will pass according to Kentucky’s intestacy laws. Unfortunately, however, the state’s intestacy laws don’t always necessarily align with a person’s desires regarding his or her property, thereby making it important to include a will in one’s estate plan.  

In addition, a will permits parents to name a legal guardian for their surviving minor children should they die prematurely. In addition, the creator of a will (called a testator) designates an executor in the document. The executor’s role is to conclude the testator’s affairs after death by probating the will. During the probate process, the executor inventories the testator’s assets, pays his or her debts, and distributes property per the will’s instructions.


A trust is an alternate way to transfer money and assets. A trust is an agreement between the person who creates the trust (called the trustor, settlor, or grantor) and the person who manages the property held in the trust (called the trustee) for the benefit of a third party (called a beneficiary). A trustee holds and manages trust assets according to the terms of the document.

A trust may either be created during the grantor’s lifetime or created in a will to spring into existence after probate to receive property from the grantor’s estate for management by the trustee.

Although trusts are often associated with the wealthy and their efforts to minimize tax liability, trusts have a variety of benefits that aren’t associated with tax planning and wealth. For example, trusts can avoid the probate process and protect assets from creditors. In addition, a trust is an excellent way to manage assets for a beneficiary that has special needs.

There are a variety of trust types available in Kentucky, most of which are highly complex. Therefore, for assistance with creating a trust in Kentucky, you should contact an experienced estate planning attorney. 

Contact a Shelby County Estate Planning Attorney 

At Berkley Oliver PLLC, our estate planning lawyers provide comprehensive estate planning services throughout Central Kentucky. Regardless of your estate planning needs, our lawyers have the experience and knowledge necessary to provide you with excellent legal guidance. When you come to us for assistance, you can rely on us to provide you with efficient representation, personal attention, and exceptional service. Please contact us today to schedule a free initial consultation.

About the Author
Josh Berkley is an attorney and owner at Berkley Oliver PLLC who helps individuals implement plans to protect their assets and their loved ones. Josh focuses his practice in the areas of Estate Planning, Probate, and Elder Law.  From assisting young parents in making a plan to provide for their children, to helping senior clients qualify for Medicaid, Josh works with clients to create estate plans and life plans tailored to each person’s specific goals. He also helps clients with a wide variety of important legal documents such Wills, Trusts, Powers of Attorney, Healthcare Surrogate Designations, and Living Wills. If you have any questions regarding this article, contact Josh here.