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Probate Estate and Trust Administration

The average time it takes to probate an estate is from six months to two years. The probate court process costs, personal representative fees, attorney fees, accounting fees, bond fees, and appraisal and business valuation fees generally make up from 3-8 percent of the total asset worth. A significant number of Americans have either personally experienced or know someone who has personally experienced family conflict as the result of the decedent not having an estate plan or will. Probate is often the source of that conflict.

Probate can be expensive, lengthy, and is not a private process. This means that anyone with an interest in a decedent’s estate can access all the details. Probate is necessary when there is a will—or when there are no estate planning documents at all. It is important to plan for probate—or plan to avoid probate—to ensure your loved ones do not have to deal with the process. Having an experienced probate attorney from Adams Law can ensure you have all the necessary facts and information regarding probate as you make estate planning decisions.

Why Should You Choose a Covington Probate Attorney from Adams Law?

When you choose a Covington probate attorney from Adams Law, you have chosen a full-service firm that can help you plan your own estate or probate a loved one’s estate. Together, our attorneys have more than 125 years of experience providing estate planning guidance and services to our clients. We are a highly client-centered law firm and want you to have the very best experience possible when dealing with probate or having an estate plan prepared.

Your questions will be answered in a comprehensive manner as we tailor your plan to your unique situation. If you have been named executor of another’s will and have no idea where to begin, we can help you with those tasks as well. Our goal will always be to figure out solutions that make sense for you and your unique situation. An Adams Law probate attorney is waiting to help you with probate and all your estate planning needs.

What is Probate?

Probate is the process that disperses the estate of a decedent. The court oversees probate tasks to ensure the probate goes according to the will and state law—or just state law if there is not a will. Assets must be managed and protected during probate, and the wishes of the decedent must be honored. Probate is required for most estates in Kentucky. If you want to avoid probate, the best way to do so is to plan ahead. You can place your assets in a revocable living trust with someone you trust named as a beneficiary.

The beneficiary will then take control of your assets and distribute them according to your wishes without the need for probate. If there are minor children to consider, you must have a will to name a guardian for them. In this case, the will would go through probate, but it would be a quick process without assets. Life insurance policies, retirement accounts, and any other assets that have a named beneficiary do not have to go through probate, nor do jointly owned assets with the right of survivorship.

If You Don’t Have a Will Must Your Estate Still Go Through Probate?

While wills must go through probate, the estates of those who die without a will—or any other estate planning documents that would take the place of a will—must also go through probate court. When you die without a will it is known as “intestate.”  If you die without a will in Kentucky and you leave a spouse behind, a law known as “dower and curtesy,” is involved.

This means that certain property passes directly to your surviving spouse before creditors are paid. The first $15,000 of your personal property or money goes to the surviving spouse, then after all creditors are paid the surviving spouse receives half of the decedent’s personal property, half of the decedent’s real property, and one-third of the decedent’s real estate.

The remainder of your personal property and real property will pass to your children to be divided equally among them. If you have no children, what would have gone to your children will now go to your parents, or to your siblings if you have no children or living parents. If you have no spouse or children, your parents will inherit all your assets. If you have no spouse, no children, and no living parents, your siblings will inherit all your assets. Probate and trust administration becomes infinitely easier when you have a Covington probate attorney from Adams Law by your side.

What is the Process for Hiring a Probate Attorney?

The basic process for probate is as follows:

  • You must first file a petition to “open” probate with the court.
  • A hearing will be scheduled; if there is a will with a named executor, that executor will be approved by the court. If there is no will, the court will appoint a person to act as executor.
  • All heirs and creditors must be notified by the executor. This is done via a notification in the local newspaper.
  • An inventory of the estate must be taken, and any valuables appraised. The executor has 60 days to accomplish the inventory and appraisals, then file the inventory with the court.
  • Any debts owed by the decedent will be paid, and the executor will file any necessary tax returns and pay outstanding taxes.
  • Once all the above tasks have been completed, the executor can distribute the remaining assets to the heirs according to the will, or under Kentucky intestate laws if there is no will.

When the estate is more complex, these steps can be especially complicated, requiring the services of a knowledgeable probate attorney.

How An Adams Law Probate Attorney Can Help

Dealing with probate at a time when all you want to do is grieve the loss of your loved one can be an added problem you don’t need. When you have an Adams Law probate attorney by your side, you can relax, knowing everything will be taken care of professionally and correctly. Our attorneys are hard-working, highly experienced, personable, and friendly. We will always go above and beyond to ensure your goals are met and you are satisfied with our legal services. The Adams Law attorneys are always transparent and willing to explain any complex legality. We tell you the truth, then clearly present your options, so you know what to expect and can prepare accordingly. Contact a Covington probate attorney from Adams Law today.

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