Kentucky Estate Planning Diagram

In our work as probate and estate attorneys in Central Kentucky, we often meet people during their most challenging times. The death of a loved one is an especially difficult period for anyone. Not only are family members and friends grieving the loss of a loved one, they are also confronted with how to handle their loved one's estate.

Family members often have a considerable amount of questions— the probate attorneys at Skeeters, Bennett, Wilson & Humphrey have been helping families through these difficult periods since 1974. Below is a guide for those wanting more information about the responsibilities of an executor in Kentucky.

What You Need to Do as Executor of a Kentucky Estate

Becoming an executor in Kentucky is both an honor and a responsibility. The role comes with legal duties that can be daunting at first glance. Our recommendation is to take the process step by step and work with an experienced probate attorney to advise you throughout the process. The steps for every Kentucky probate are as follows:

  1. Open probate. The first step includes probating the Will with the Court. The probate judge will accept the will, send it to be filed with the County Clerk, and appoint the executor. The executor will get a court order proving that he or she is the executor, with power to act on behalf of the estate. 

  2. Take inventory. After being appointed, the executor must marshal the assets of the estate and take an inventory. This inventory gets filed with the probate court and advises the court on the assets in the estate. The inventory must be filed within 60 days of the executor’s appointment.

  3. Administer the estate. Many actions are required during this phase, from paying debts, dealing with real estate, and concluding other financial matters for the deceased. 

  4. Close probate. Once all the above responsibilities are complete, the executor must file an estate settlement with the court. This can be an informal or formal settlement. In an informal settlement, the beneficiaries of the estate waive the requirement of a formal accounting by the executor. If all beneficiaries file a waiver, the court will close the estate without further inquiry. In a formal settlement, the executor files a detailed itemization and accounting of his/her actions as executor. The court then publishes the accounting in a newspaper, and objections can be filed to the accounting. If objections are filed, a hearing is held where the court will determine if the estate was handled correctly. If none are filed, the Court will close the estate and release the executor. 

In a best-case scenario with no complications, the probate process lasts about six months, but it often takes longer. Problems and challenges can arise at any point during this process, and the executor must be equipped with the time and knowledge to deal with them.

Fortunately, you don't have to handle all of the responsibilities alone. An experienced Central Kentucky probate lawyer from Skeeters, Bennett, Wilson & Humphrey can assist you throughout the entire process.

Can a Will Help You Avoid Probate?

Since probate is a lengthy and sometimes difficult process, some clients try to avoid it altogether. As our skilled estate planning attorneys explain to those clients, a standard will not avoid probate. In Kentucky, having a comprehensive will accomplishes many things, such as nominating an executor, appointing a guardian to care for your children, and directing the distribution of assets at the time of your death, but it will not avoid probate. A typical will usually requires some kind of court-supervised probate administration.

For those looking for a way to avoid probate, we recommend exploring the following: 

In a thoughtful estate planning session with an experienced attorney, you can explore each of these areas and decide which is right for you and your family. Proper estate planning involves talking with your attorney about your values, goals, and wishes for the future and designing a plan to implement your wishes. Cookie-cutter approaches, where an advisor pushes you into a standardized, template-based plan, should be avoided at all costs.

The trusted advisors at Skeeters, Bennett, Wilson & Humphrey developed a free book, Crafting Your Legacy: An Essential Estate Planning Guide. We encourage you to review it with your family and think about different strategies for the future. Then, make an appointment with our office to have a more detailed conversation about your specific needs.


Kentucky Estate Planning Guide

If It’s Yours, It’s Worth Protecting

At Skeeters, Bennett, Wilson & Humphrey, we believe it’s critical to prioritize building strong relationships with our clients, offering them compassionate support and information they can trust. Our experienced team offers numerous free resources, so you have a better understanding of your options and can create a comprehensive strategy. Please make sure to review our library articles, blog posts, and responses to frequently asked questions to learn more.

There’s no mystery to estate planning. Often the hardest part is getting started. If this sounds like a call to action, it is. You can get started today with a simple phone call to schedule your free consultation with one of our Kentucky estate planning attorneys.

Our compassionate approach focuses on customized solutions that create a clear path to your specific goals. Please contact us to learn more about how we can help you with estate planning, elder law, long-term care initiatives, special needs directives, and more. Simply call (270) 351-4404 to schedule a consultation today.