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Covington Wills Attorneys

Preserve Your Legacy, Contact Our Covington Wills Attorneys

A 2021 Gallup poll found that slightly less than half (46 percent) of all U.S. adults have a Will. This number has not changed significantly since 1990. Americans aged 65 and older are the most likely group to have a Will, and those with more assets are more likely to have a Will than lower-income Americans. Those who are college graduates are also more likely to have a Will than those with only a high school diploma. It is important for adults to be more proactive about having a Will, a Living Trust, or an entire estate plan. Having the experienced Covington wills attorneys from Adams Law can ensure all your questions are fully answered and that your Will or estate plan fits your unique circumstances.

The number of adults who say they have a Living Will is only slightly less than those who have a Last Will and Testament. Living Wills specify your preference for medical treatment in the event they are unable to communicate those preference due to incapacitation. Just as with a Last Will and Testament, Living Wills are more likely to be held by older Americans. If it’s time for you to have a Will or an entire estate plan prepared, Adams Law can help. We are a very client-centered law firm that always puts our clients and their needs first. We serve Northern Kentucky and Southern Ohio from our Covington office but have helped clients across the Commonwealth of Kentucky.

What Happens if You Die Without a Will?

If you die without a will, then you have died intestate. In cases where there is no will, the court will determine who inherits your estate and in what shares. The estate will enter probate—the legal process of distributing an estate’s assets to the rightful heirs. Probate is typically a costly and time-consuming experience and can significantly delay the disposition of your property for months—or even longer, depending on the complexity of your estate. Intestate laws are different in each state. In the state of Kentucky:

  • Your children will inherit everything if you have no spouse.
  • If you have a spouse and children, your spouse will inherit half of your personal property, one-third of your real property to use during his or her life, and half of your real property to sell or give away. Your children will receive the remainder of your real property and half of your personal property.
  • If you have no children, but you do have a spouse and parents, your spouse will inherit as in the above example with children, and your parents will receive the remainder of your real property and half of your personal property. It will be the same if you have a spouse and siblings but no parents or children.
  • If you have parents but no spouse or siblings, your parents will inherit everything.
  • If you have siblings but no spouse, children, or parents, your siblings will inherit everything.

Kentucky has a set of laws known as “dower and curtesy,” that provide certain property will pass directly to a surviving spouse even before paying creditors. The first $15,000 of personal property (or the money on hand) will go to the surviving spouse, then once creditors are paid, the intestate laws detailed above kick in.

What is Probate, and Must All Wills Be Probated?

Probate court supervises the distribution of assets to creditors, heirs, and beneficiaries. Estates with more than $15,000 in probate assets are subject to probate. A probate asset is any asset held in an individual’s name only. Assets that are not subject to probate include anything titled in joint tenancy or tenancy by the entirety, Payable on Death or Transfer on Death accounts, retirement and life insurance policies with a designated beneficiary, and assets held in a Revocable Living Trust.

Because Kentucky has no time limit (statutes of limitations) on creditor claims, it could be a good idea to probate an estate even when assets are jointly owned. Creditors could appear years after the death of an individual, attempting to collect on a debt that belonged to the decedent. If probate is filed and an estate opened, creditors only have six months from when an executor or administrator is appointed to file their claim. 

Are There Different Types of Wills?

There are essentially four types of wills: Simple Will, Testamentary Trust Will, Joint Will, and Living Will. Additionally, there are holographic Wills, meaning they are handwritten and oral Wills, called nuncupative. In the state of Kentucky, oral Wills are not recognized, and holographic Wills are only recognized if they are “wholly written by the testator.”  A Simple Will is the type of Will most of us think of. A Simple Will can name a guardian for minor children and dictate who will receive the decedent’s assets.

A Testamentary Trust Will places certain assets into a trust for the benefit of your beneficiaries, naming a Trustee to handle the trust. This type of Will allows you to place assets in trust, placing conditions on an inheritance that could be gradual, based on age or other factors. A Joint Will is a Will that is signed by two or more individuals—also known as a Mirror Will, executed by spouses in favor of the other spouse. In other words, the other spouse inherits everything. Joint Will terms cannot be changed. This inflexibility can be a problem when wishes change.

Finally, a Living Will allows you to state the medical treatments you want should you become incapacitated and unable to make those decisions on your own. It is possible to have different types of Wills at the same time. Having Covington wills attorneys preparing your Will for you ensures it is legal and will have the effect you want it to have after your death or when you become incapacitated.

Is a DIY Will Sufficient or Should You Contact a Covington Will Attorney?

Although Americans have wholeheartedly jumped on the DIY bandwagon, there remain certain aspects of your life you would not be advised to do on your own. While you can certainly find a DIY Will form online, adding your own information, there is a very high likelihood of making a simple mistake that could invalidate the entire Will. This is one area where having a legal professional prepare your Will can truly make a difference. 

How The Adams Law Covington Wills Attorneys Attorney Can Help

At Adams Law, we take pride in client care, with everything our clients need in one firm. We have dedicated, personable attorneys and support staff who believe deeply in being there for you, the client. While we are a smaller law firm, we consider ourselves “mighty” in that we have the same technological capabilities and experience as much larger firms and are respected by our peers and clients alike. Contact Adams Law today for the experience and skills you need to help you prepare your Will and other estate planning documents.

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