Learn More About Probate

What Is The Purpose Of Probate?

Probate is a process through which title is transferred from the name of the deceased to the names of the proper beneficiaries or heirs. The probate court will also ensure that debts are paid before inheritances are distributed.

Is There A Difference Between A Beneficiary And An Heir?

Although the two words are often used interchangeably, they are not the same. A beneficiary is a person or party that inherits from a Will. An heir inherits based on intestate laws.

How Much Does Probate Cost?

Probate attorneys may charge an hourly fee or a percentage of the estate for the work they perform. Most clients have discovered that our fees are much lower than those of many attorneys. Expenses of an estate may include executor/administrator fees, attorneys fees, accounting fees, court fees, appraisal costs, and any bonds. However, Probate does not have to be expensive, especially for estates that have no disputes and little to no assets to sell.

Do I Get Paid For Serving As An Executor Or Administrator?

The current law allows for a fee to be paid for the Personal Representative's reasonable services and some out of pocket expenses. The Executor has to fulfill his or her fiduciary duties on behalf of the estate with the highest degree of integrity and can be held liable for mismanagement of estate assets in his or her care. It is advised that the Executor retain an attorney to advise and assist him with his or her duties.

What Assets Do Not Go Through Probate?

  • Property in which you own title as by right of survivorship.
  • Retirement accounts such as IRA and 401(k) accounts where there are designated beneficiaries.
  • Life insurance policies.
  • Bank accounts with "pay on death" (POD) designations or "in trust for" designations.
  • Property owned by a living trust.

What Happens If Someone Objects To The Will?

An objection to a Will, also known as a "Will contest" is a common occurrence during the probate proceedings and can be incredibly costly to litigate.

When Does The Reading Of The Will Take Place?

Although seen often on television, a "Reading of the Will" is a common misconception. Although it is permitted, there is no legal requirement that this take place.

Does My Spouse Inherit Everything If I Don't Have A Will?

No. After the marital exemption your spouse will only receive half ½ of your intestate property (the assets/property that you do not own jointly with right of survivorship). In general, your remaining intestate assets/property will distributed in following order:

  1. Your children and their descendants; if there are none, then,
  2. To your parents, with their shares to be divided equally. If only one parent is living, then the surviving parent will receive both parents' share of the estate.
  3. To your brothers and sisters and their descendants. If there are none, then,
  4. To your husband or wife.
  5. To your grandparents.
  6. To your aunts and uncles.

If you have additional questions about probate, please call the Louisville office of Carrie D. Ritsert, Attorney At Law, at 502-694-5397/toll-free 800-785-7641 or send an email to schedule a free consultation.