Dying Without a Will in Kentucky

Posted by John Crow | Oct 28, 2019 | 0 Comments

The number of adults across Kentucky and the United States who die without having a willis staggering. A Gallup poll suggests that in 2016 only 44% of Americans had wills. And what's more, that percentage was 7 percentage points less than what the percentage was in 2005. The drop is across the board. Age, annual household income, education, and race, made no difference as to whether an individual had a will.

If you die in Kentucky without a will, you are considered to have died intestate. Here's an overview of why passing away without a will – regardless of who you are – is probably not in your best interests of that of your loved ones.

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What Does Dying Intestate Mean in Kentucky?

Dying intestate in Kentucky means you die without a will, and that means Kentucky probate laws governs your assets. All property you own – personal items, real estate, bank accounts, investments, etc.– will be distributed according to Kentucky law. A judge will assign a custodial guardian to any minor children when there are no surviving parents. It will also be a judge who appoints an administrator to your estate. Your wishes simply do no matter.

What you have worked so hard for in life is now in the hands of the law. You have given up control. Consider the problems:

  • Relatives whom you do not like could become heirs to your estate.
  • A second spouse could attempt to deny children from your first marriage their inheritance from you.
  • A relative whom you think is untrustworthy could become the administrator of your estate.
  • A minor child could end up being in the custody of someone you would not want.

Many people think that because they have a small amount of assets, they do not need a will. Others believe that they can always make a will tomorrow. But tomorrow is never promised. Consequently, the legacy you leave behind that you thought was not worthy of an estate plan could have a significant impact on those you love.

All it takes is a little thought, some planning, and proper legal guidance to make sure your estate ends up the way you want it.

Why Are the Requirements for a Legal Will in Kentucky?

Kentucky has several several requirements for a valid will. Here's what they are:

  • created by a person 18 years or older (unless you are a parent and under the age of 18)
  • created by a person of sound mind, meaning you know:
    • you made the will;
    • how much property you have;
    • the general nature of that property;
    • names of the descendants who would normally share the estate if you died intestate; and
  • signed by two witnesses (who are not beneficiaries or who are not married to beneficiaries of the will).

The Key Takeaway

It's important to have a will. It's also the responsible thing to do when you want to ensure your legacy is protected: You have control with a will. You lack control without one.

Most people understand this issue, yet delay making a will. They procrastinate or think its only for the wealthy. Unfortunately, due to this thought process, many people across Hopkinsville, Cadiz, and Elkton are dying without a will. This means that you do not have control what happens to your estate. Make sure what you worked hard for goes to the people you most care about. That means: draft a will; make sure it is in accordance with the law; make sure it benefits you and your loved ones, and make sure you keep it updated.

About the Author

John Crow

John Crow is the founder of Crow Estate Planning and Probate, PLC, a boutique law firm located in Clarksville, Tennessee. He has extensive experience in guiding people through the important and often complex decisions surrounding wills, trusts, conservatorships, and business formations.

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