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Articles Tagged with probates

LAM-MERITAS-300x284By: Leah Morrison (Read bio; lmorrison@elpolaw.com; 270-781-6500)

One of the most frequent things I hear from potential clients is “I don’t have much, so I don’t need a will.” If you do not have substantial assets, then you may be wondering if this is true. Of course, the answer is unique to you and your family situation. In some cases, where someone qualifies as a small estate and is survived by a spouse or children, then a will is only necessary if you want to change where your assets go under the default law. But in cases where a full probate is required, unintended consequences may arise where Kentucky statutes dictate how your assets are divided and distributed, not your own wishes via a will.

One of the most common misconceptions about Kentucky law is how your property is distributed after your death. Many people assume that your surviving spouse will inherit everything. But while a logical assumption, it is simply not the case in Kentucky – or many states actually. Your surviving spouse is only entitled to half of your assets; the other half go to your heirs-at-law according to Kentucky’s intestate statutes. To determine your heirs-at-law, we follow your family tree – first your children, then grandchildren, then up to your parents, then siblings, and so on. In situations where your spouse is your children’s’ other parent, then not creating a will may not result in a terrible situation for them. Your surviving spouse and children will still split your estate legally, but they’re likely to do so amicably and in a way that won’t burden their surviving parent.

documents photoIn our last post, we discussed how divorce affects an estate plan. A thorough review of all estate documents is critical post-divorce to ensure you’ve covered every conceivable scenario and changed every document necessary. Allowing an attorney to do that review for you is always in your best interest, as attorneys have a keen eye for details and wording that may escape even a close reader who does not have legal training.

Taking this matter one step backwards, though, we’re examining annulment versus divorce in this post. While both lead to the same conclusion – you’re no longer married – these two scenarios have very different consequences when it comes time to pay taxes.

Both parties may file as married at tax time if they were still legally married at the end of the calendar year. Options include filing a joint tax return, as many married couples do, or checking the married but filing separately box.

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Morguefile photo by Ricorocks

Having a child can be exciting (and stressful).  Probably the last thing you might think to do when having a child is to update an estate plan, but it’s absolutely necessary.  Here are 6 things to consider when you have a child.

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