Creating a Kentucky Will is an important step in planning the distribution of your estate (assets including real and personal property) following your death. Kentucky wills allow for any children, your spouse, other family members, and pets to be provided for after your death. LegalZoom works with the testator (or the person making the will), to create valid Kentucky wills and to assign a person (called the executor in most states) to administer a Kentucky last will and testament after the death of the testator.
Basic Requirements for a Kentucky Last Will and Testament:
Age: The testator must be at least 18 years of age
Capacity: The testator must be of sound (capable of reasoning and making decisions) mind.
Signature: A Kentucky Last Will and Testament must be signed by the testator, or by another person under the testator's direction and presence.
Witnesses: If the Kentucky Last Will and Testament is not written entirely by the testator, then two or more witnesses must sign the will in the presence of the testator and of each other, and witness the signing of the will by the testator or the testator's acknowledgement of the will.
Writing: A willmust be in writing to be valid.
Beneficiaries: A willmay make a disposition of property to any person.
Other types of recognized wills:
Holographic Wills: A handwritten will is recognized under Kentucky laws. However, the laws are particular with handwritten will requirements to deem it valid.
Distribution of Property:
A will is a legal document created by you to determine how your property, known as your estate, is distributed after your death. Your estate consists of assets and property including bank accounts, homes, land, furniture, automobiles, and securities (stocks and bonds). In general, Kentucky laws allow you to dispose of your property as you wish.
Other Purposes of Wills:
Our Kentucky wills form may be used to designate a guardian for any minor children.
Our Kentucky wills form may also be used to name an executor (also called a personal representative or administrator) to handle a testator's property and affairs from the time of death until the estate is settled.
In addition, you may pass on property to a charity.
Notable exceptions to the ability to distribute property:
Property owned in joint tenancy with a right of survivorship automatically passes onto the surviving owner.
A beneficiary in a life insurance policy may not be changed through a will.
Providing for Pets
Kentucky law currently does not have specific statutes pertaining to providing care for pets. However, the testator may specify a beneficiary as the new owner of a pet using Legalzoom's Kentucky wills form.
Changing and Revoking
Changing a will
A Kentucky Will and Testamentmay be changed whenever the testator desires.
A will can be changed through a codicil, which is a document stating additions or changes to the original will. Codicils must be executed in accordance with Kentucky laws.
Revoking a Will
A Kentucky Will and Testamentmay be revoked using the following methods:
(1) By a subsequent will or codicil.
(2) By some writing declaring an intention to revoke the will or codicil and created in accordance to Kentucky laws regarding wills.
(3) By the person who made the will, or some person in his presence and by his
direction, cutting, tearing, burning, obliterating, canceling, or destroying the will or
codicil, or the signature, with the intent to revoke.
Probate and Estate Taxes
After the testator has died, probate procedures prove the validity of the Kentucky last will, pay off debts and taxes of the estate, appoint a personal representative to administrate the Kentucky last will, and distribute property as designated in the Kentucky last will. A petition is filed in the county court where the testator died to begin the probate proceedings.
Kentucky laws impose both inheritance and estate taxes. The inheritance tax is class based and dependent on the person who receives property from the will. In general, if there are no Federal estate taxes that are due, then no Kentucky estate taxes are owed.
It is extremely important to make a Kentucky will if you want to control the distribution of your estate. If you die without a valid will, you are said to have died "intestate" and your property will be distributed according to strict Kentucky laws.
For example, if you die leaving a spouse and no children, then your spouse receives the entire estate. If you leave children and no spouse, then the children receive the entire estate.
If you make a Kentucky will, your valid will prevents the laws of intestacy from deciding the distribution of your estate.