Notary stamp, pen, document, and gavel on desk

The Probate Process in Kentucky

Caleb Bland Law, PLLC Dec. 1, 2021

Settling a deceased loved one's estate and final affairs in Kentucky often involves going through the probate process. During probate, the decedent's assets are gathered and evaluated, taxes and debts are paid, and the remaining assets are transferred to the beneficiaries and heirs. A knowledgeable Kentucky estate planning attorney can guide you through the entire probate process and help you make informed decisions.

At Caleb Bland Law, PLLC, we are committed to offering detailed legal guidance and reliable advocacy to clients in estate planning-related matters, including probate. As your legal counsel, we can enlighten you about the Kentucky probate process and help you understand what to expect. Our team proudly serves clients throughout Elizabethtown, Shepherdsville, Hodgenville, Louisville, Nelson County, Meade County, and Hardin County, Kentucky.

What Is Probate?

Probate can be described as a court-supervised process that takes place after a person's death. In Kentucky, probate is often done to determine the validity of the will (if available) and appoint an executor or personal representative. Once appointed, the personal representative will:

  • Collect and evaluate the decedent's assets,

  • Pay debts and inheritance taxes, and

  • Distribute the remaining assets and property to rightful inheritors in accordance with the provisions of the will or Kentucky's intestate succession laws (if there is no will).

The Probate Process in Kentucky

While many states have adopted the Uniform Probate Code (UPC), the state of Kentucky has not. Rather, Kentucky has its own probate process, which begins with the probate court appointing a fiduciary. Once the fiduciary is appointed, he or she must do the following:

  • File a Petition: File a petition or application for probate in the county where the deceased person was residing at the time of death. For instance, if the person passed away in Elizabethtown, the fiduciary would need to file the petition in Hardin County. The fiduciary will need to file the death certificate and the original will, if any, with the court as well.

  • Manage Estate Property: Collect, evaluate, and manage all the probate assets of the decedent. The fiduciary must also collect all the decedent's income, including rents, interests, dividends, debts owed, and claims. He or she must create a detailed inventory of the estate's assets.

  • Publish a Notice: Publish a notice of probate in the local newspaper and mail the notice to all known heirs and beneficiaries. The fiduciary must also provide proof that they have properly published and sent notices.

  • Post Probate Bond: A probate bond is a bond issued against the performance of the fiduciary. The purpose of the bond is to protect beneficiaries, heirs, and creditors should the executor engage in fraud with the estate's assets. If the court requires, the executor will post a probate bond.

  • Submit Affidavit: Submit a "self-proving affidavit" signed by the witnesses to the will. The executor may also file other documents required by the court.

  • Estate Administration: Administer the estate by preparing and filing the necessary documents. This will also involve getting an employer identification number from the IRS, opening a state bank account, and paying approved creditors' claims and debts.

  • Inheritance Taxes: Unlike other states, there is no estate tax in Kentucky. However, the beneficiaries who inherit the decedent's property might have to pay a tax on the amount inherited.

  • Final Settlement: File an accounting of all receipts and disbursements relating to the decedent's estate. The executor can then close the estate by concluding the distribution of the remaining property to the rightful beneficiaries and heirs.

An experienced probate attorney can guide you through the entire probate process from start to finish and offer insights into how long it will take to complete.

How Long Does the Process Take?

The typical probate process in Kentucky takes at least six months. For most probate cases, the process will take between 6 and 12 months to complete. However, if there are disputes or conflicts between loved ones or if the will is contested, probate may take even longer. In the event of possible disagreements over the will, an experienced attorney can work meticulously with all parties involved to help resolve such issues amicably and productively.

Let an Experienced Probate Lawyer
in Elizabethtown, Kentucky Help

Going through the Kentucky probate process following the death of a family member can be emotional and often involves several complexities. However, having a better understanding of what to expect can make it easier to navigate probate successfully. An experienced Kentucky probate attorney can enlighten you about the probate process and determine the best way to preserve your family's assets.

At Caleb Bland Law, PLLC, we are dedicated to providing outstanding legal services that help individuals, families, and fiduciaries navigate the complexities of the probate process. As your legal counsel, we can review the details of the estate plan, educate you about the probate process, and offer valuable advice on things like inheritance tax. Our team will work diligently with you and other family members to resolve probate issues and disagreements peacefully and quickly.

Getting prompt legal assistance can help you avoid making costly errors when going through such a difficult time. Contact Caleb Bland Law, PLLC today to schedule a one-on-one consultation with an experienced estate planning attorney. We're proud to serve clients throughout Elizabethtown, Shepherdsville, Hodgenville, Louisville, Nelson County, Meade County, and Hardin County, Kentucky.