Probate is a process that involves the authentication of a person’s last will & testament, the resolution of any outstanding taxes or debts, and the distribution of assets to the deceased’s rightful heirs. Although it is possible to avoid probate by creating a comprehensive estate plan with the assistance of an experienced estate planning attorney, many people fail to do so, thereby subjecting their estates to the probate process. In this article, we discuss the probate process in Kentucky.
The first step in the Kentucky probate process is to file a petition with the appropriate court. If the deceased person left a will, then the original document must be filed along with the petition. Probate cases in Kentucky are handled by the district court in the county where the deceased party resided. Although it is generally best to begin the probate process as soon as possible after a person passes away, Kentucky law allows a party to file a petition with the probate court up to 10 years following a person’s death.
After a petition is filed, the court holds a hearing to approve a party to act as executor (or administrator if there is no will) of the decedent’s estate. After this appointment, the court will publish a notice in the local paper letting creditors know that an estate has been opened. In Kentucky, creditors have six months from the date the executor or administrator is appointed to come forward with their claim against the estate.
Next, the estate’s executor must file an inventory of all the estate’s probate assets within 60 days after his or her appointment. This typically involves writing down each item listed in the decedent’s will and every valuable item that was left behind at his or her home. If necessary, the executor may amend this inventory as the probate process moves forward.
The executor then must file an accounting of the estate’s disbursements and receipts. Money that is distributed, such as final medical bills, debts, and funeral expenses all must be recorded. After the payment of estate fees and taxes, the remaining estate assets are distributed to the decedent’s heirs. The executor of the estate then submits a final settlement to the probate court.
Close the Estate
Finally, after the completion of the above tasks, the executor must take steps to close the estate with the probate court. When the estate is closed, the executor is discharged and relieved from his or her estate-related duties. An estate in Kentucky may be closed by either a formal final settlement process or informal final settlement process.
Contact a Shelby County Probate & Estate Administration Attorney
If you need assistance with probate in Kentucky, Berkley Oliver PLLC is here to help. At Berkley Oliver, our experienced and knowledgeable Kentucky probate attorneys assist clients throughout Central Kentucky with their probate needs. Please contact us to schedule a free consultation with a Shelby County probate and estate administration attorney.