One of the primary advantages of estate planning in Kentucky is the avoidance of probate. Probate is a legal process by which a deceased person’s assets and debts are addressed by the court. During probate, the court takes stock of the deceased’s assets, pays his or her debts, and distributes the remainder to his or her heirs. However, as explained below, there are some drawbacks to the Kentucky probate process. In this article, we examine some reasons to avoid probate in Kentucky.
Probate is Slow
One reason to avoid the probate process in Kentucky is that it is extremely slow. The primary reason for this is that it is a court process, and most court proceedings tend to move very slowly. And although the probate process can theoretically conclude within six months, this doesn’t always happen. Rather, probate typically takes anywhere from one to three years to conclude. In fact, probate can take even longer than this if a person’s estate is particularly complicated or if any of the estate’s heirs decide to contest the will.
Probate is Public
Finally, since probate in Kentucky is run by the court system, all information and documents used during the process are public records. This means that anyone who makes a public records request may view an estate’s assets, debts, and property distributions. In other words, the probate process affords almost no privacy to the deceased, his or her estate, and the estate’s heirs. With proper estate planning, however, this can be avoided, since most estate planning documents are private. Therefore, anyone who values his or her privacy should make estate planning a priority.
Ancillary Probate is a Hassle
In the event you own property in another state and haven’t addressed that issue through an estate plan, that property would likely need to go through “ancillary probate.” This is an additional probate process to change title to property in a state other than the one in which the deceased was living at the time of their death. Not only is it a hassle to have to open a second probate case in another state’s court, but it requires the Executor to employ an attorney in another state that is licensed to appear before that state’s courts. This can be avoided by properly titling the property during your life or by putting the out-of-state property into a trust.
Contact a Shelby County Estate Planning Attorney
If you would like to avoid probate in Kentucky, you need the assistance of an experienced estate planning lawyer. At Berkley Oliver PLLC, our estate planning lawyers provide estate planning assistance to clients throughout Central Kentucky. Regardless of whether you need to create a brand-new estate plan, or you need to update an existing estate plan, our lawyers have the tools necessary to create a plan that meets your unique needs. Please contact us today to schedule a consultation.