All You Need to Know About The Last Will and Testament in Kentucky
Would you, with utmost certainty, say that your loved ones will be okay if you were to die tomorrow? Do they know what you'd want them to do with your estate? Do you know everyone you'd want to benefit from your estate even if they have to get a small bit of it? And, are all those wishes in writing? If you have answered no to any of these questions, then you are in the best place - we will help you get started on your last will and testament.
While most of us talk about death and wills behind closed doors, dying without a will exposes you to the whole world. The worst bit is that without a will, the state sweeps in and the only persons considered as heirs to your estate are your close family members. That friend who is more than family will not get anything from you, even if that is what you have done.
Considering the downsides of dying without a will, don't you think that you need to come up with one soon?
To ensure that we are on the same page, a last will and testament refers to a legal document that outlines your wishes regarding asset/ estate distribution upon your demise. To create the will, you require a free Kentucky last will and testament form, often downloadable online. The last will form has a standard format as outlined in the Kentucky's code section §394.020, et seq. The person creating the form for the will is the testator.
The individual you appoint to ensure that the directives of your will are respected, is the executor and all the people you wish to leave a part or the whole of your estate to are the heirs or beneficiaries. What happens if you have minor children at the time of your death, and no parent to take care of them? Well, the will covers that too. You can use the will to appoint an individual to take up the guardianship role. While you have faith in that person, you should talk to them about the guardianship role and if they are willing to take it up. Even if you are talking about the kids' godparents, it is important to confirm.
In the case of the executor and the guardian, you should appoint an alternate to each. The alternate guardian or executor is the successor.
But, naming these three parties is not enough to make your free last will and testament in Kentucky valid. Your age matters too. The minimum age for creating a will is 18 years. You have to be of sound mind, and you must act out of your own volition.
When signing the will, especially when you have had some help creating the will, you will need two adult and competent witnesses to sign the will in your presence, after you sign it. Alternatively, the witnesses could sign the will as you (the testator) acknowledge it.
The will must be in writing too. However, the state recognizes holographic wills. A holographic will is a wholly handwritten will. Its acknowledgment by the state only takes place if it is apparent that the handwriting used to create the content, sign, and date the will is the testator's.
Uses of the last will
- Asset distribution: One of the main roles of the executor is to distribute your assets to the named beneficiaries. This happens after they file the will with the probate court, get Letters Testamentary, manage your estate, and after paying debts and taxes.'
- Protection of the wellbeing of your kids: The will lets you name a guardian for your minor kids ensuring that your kids are safe upon your demise. You can also use it to create a testamentary trust for your child or children.
- It gives you the freedom to appoint beneficiaries: besides your children and spouse, you can name friends or charitable organizations you'd like to bequeath.
The executor files your will with the probate court soon after your demise. The probate refers to a court-supervised process involved in the distribution of your estate. This court has to validate the will before it grants the named executor the powers to manage and distribute your estate. An executor only distributes assets after the court grants them Letters Testamentary.
What happens if you die without a will?
If you die without a will, the state invokes intestacy, a legal procedure for asset distribution for the person who dies without leaving wills. Intestacy laws are based on Kentucky's 'Dower and Curtesy' doctrine. This doctrine provides that the surviving spouse inherits half of the decedent's (dead person without a will) estate. The other half of the estate goes to the decedent's kids, parents, then to siblings.
If a decedent leaves behind a spouse without kids, parents or even siblings, then the spouse inherits the whole estate.
Although this process appears fair, it may not represent your wishes hence the need for the last will and testament.
Exceptions to property distribution
A joint tenancy that has a survivorship right cannot be distributed or named in the will. The exemption also applies to insurance proceeds.
Can you change the last will?
Yes. You could change your will at any time during your lifetime. You can do that by either creating a new will or using a codicil. A codicil refers to the extras to the will or amendments. Execution of the change using a codicil must follow the same formalities used in the creation of the original will.
How to revoke a will
- Create a new will or a codicil.
- Declare in writing your intentions of revoking the will
- You or someone acting under your direction could cancel, cut, burn, tear, obliterate, or destroy the will or the codicil as long you intend to revoke the will.
Would you like to create a will? Get our last will and testament forms in Kentucky today.