By Leah Morrison, Attorney
English, Lucas, Priest and Owsley, LLP
One of the most frequent reasons clients tell me they want to create a will, trust, or other estate documents is to avoid probate. People have come to see probate as an unduly burdensome process that can cost a lot of money and time, but in Kentucky, it’s not as bad as you might fear.
Before we delve into it, let’s take a moment to review what probate is. Probate is the legal process by which the financial affairs of a deceased person are concluded. It is a court supervised process in which assets are accumulated and distributed in accordance with the decedent’s will or pursuant to the statutory plan of descent, and debts are gathered for payment. Although, in Kentucky, the supervision provided by the court is often times very minimal.
While Kentucky’s probate laws are sufficient to ensure the deceased person’s assets are properly managed and distributed to the appropriate person, the requirements of the probate process are minimal enough that most people navigate it smoothly without incident.
The one thing, though, to know is that probate does make your will public. Your will becomes a public document that is recorded in the court system, and is available to anyone who wishes to view it.