After a loved one passes away, that person's estate has to be handled. We recently discussed how Kentucky is one of the worst states for inheritance taxes. This should spur you to find out what options you have that might reduce the tax burden for the estate.
Often, probate litigation arises because someone contests the will that has been presented. They might do so because they are not favorably treated in the will, but that's not always the reason people contest a will. Sometimes, a close family member simply feels that the will is not representative of what they believe their loved one's wishes to be.
While the probate process is slightly different in each state, some overarching basics are the same across the nation. The purpose of probate and the basic steps by which you navigate through it are some of those basics.
If your loved one has recently passed away, this can be a very trying time in terms of emotions. Unfortunately, it is also a time when family members must make numerous decisions and deal with legal processes for inheritances through probate. For some, this might mean the shock of discovering a will that seems out of character with the person who left it. While you can't usually successfully contest a will simply because you don't like its contents, you can contest a will if you believe the person who passed away would never have left such a document willingly.
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.
If you want to challenge a will and believe you have good cause to do so, you should seek legal representation. Different states have different laws and unless you know the estate rules for Kentucky or your state and are proficient at estate litigation, you will probably need a legal representative. Here are some common things for which a will can be challenged.
Most Kentucky residents who do estate planning are particularly concerned about how their assets will be distributed when they are gone, and who shall get what. These kinds of decisions are difficult to make, and they should be considered carefully before finalizing your asset distribution plan if you want to avoid family arguments and legal battles when you are gone.
What does it mean to probate a will? A will goes through probate court to ensure that the will is administered properly and that all assets of the estate are dispersed properly. A probate judge oversees the disposal of property and settles any disputes that might arise between heirs of the will.
What will your legacy be after you're gone? It's a difficult question. With the right planning, though, at the very least you can protect your loved ones from disputes over your assets and debts. For you and your heirs, effective estate planning can provide the great benefits of clarity and peace of mind.