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Information about probate proceedings

When many Kentucky residents hear the words "probate proceedings," they may begin to feel a sinking feeling in their stomachs. That is not because probate is difficult, but rather, it is because the process can be time-consuming and in some cases very costly.

Regardless how we feel about it, though, the probate process is essential in transferring the wealth of an estate to its heirs in a supervised and orderly manner. In this respect, probate is a very good thing because it ensures that an individual's estate is appropriately treated under the law, and — more importantly — it ensures that the estate is handled in accordance with the decedent's wishes as expressed in his or her will.

Obviously, in terms of ensuring that an estate is distributed in accordance with the decedent's wishes, it is preferable to have a will on file, but heirs and beneficiaries must make do with their particular circumstances. If a valid will is not on file, state laws will dictate how the assets of the estate are distributed to relatives and potential heirs.

The actual distribution of the estate is the last step in the probate process. During this stage, creditors will have the opportunity to make claims on the estate and get paid what they are due. Second, whatever assets are remaining after creditors are paid will be distributed to heirs in accordance with the mandates laid out in the will.

Kentucky residents with questions about the probate process will definitely want to discuss their circumstances with an attorney. An attorney can help individuals navigate the probate process as quickly and affordably as possible.

Source: Dummies, "Probing probate: What you should know," N. Brian Caverly and Jordan S. Simon, accessed April 01, 2016

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