A Knowledgeable Louisville Wills And Trusts Lawyer

Planning for the future is crucial, if you do not want the state deciding who inherits your property and money. Everyone can benefit significantly from an estate plan. And important life decisions — such as what will happen if you become incapacitated and who should care for your children — must be properly executed to be legally effective.

At Carrie D. Ritsert, Attorney At Law, in Louisville, Kentucky, attorney Carrie Ritsert can take a close look at your circumstances and help you develop an estate plan that fits your goals and desires for the future.

Our law firm offers free initial consultations and affordable services. Do not delay any longer — call 502-694-5397 to get started.

Our lawyer is a problem solver experienced in estate planning, probate and other legal matters. No matter the complexity or simplicity of your legal needs, our attorney offers accessible and affordable assistance.

Why Establish/Review An Estate Plan?

Estate planning is often simple, straightforward and inexpensive. Even a basic estate plan can provide immense value by preserving your wishes, streamlining probate and/or estate administration and solidifying your legacy for the future.

When life changes, it is equally important to review and update any existing estate plan. It is crucial to update your will and beneficiary designations when your family grows with the addition of a child or step child, when considering divorce and after the death of a loved one. This review process is affordable and does not take long.

What Exactly Is Estate Planning?

Estate planning refers to the process of implementing your wishes and decisions in a legally effective manner. Depending on your circumstance, an estate plan may include:

  • A will: This is the most basic tool for expressing and preserving your wishes regarding your property and minor children.
  • A trust: This tool can be tailored to effectuate specific goals for your property and finances, including real property. Some types of trusts provide significant tax advantages.
  • A power of attorney: This is a critical tool for selecting who can make decisions for you in the event of incapacity.
  • A health care surrogate (living will): Similar to a power of attorney, this important document will designate who can make health care decisions for you in the event of incapacity. It can also set forth your end-of-life wishes.

Another aspect involves pet planning. If you have a fur baby, you may want to designate who you would like to care for your pet and set aside a budget for such things as grooming, food and potential medical costs.

How Do I Avoid Probate?

You May Have been told that avoiding probate should be a number one priority of your estate plan. Whether it is a top priority of not, there are several things you need to know about the Kentucky probate process. Probate can be avoided if you do it the right way.

Using Living Trusts To Avoid The Kentucky Probate Process

In Kentucky, living trusts can be used to avoid probate for essentially any asset you own. That would include real estate, bank accounts, vehicles, and so on. You need to create a trust document that names someone to serve as successor trustee, the one to take over as trustee after your death. You must also transfer ownership of the trust property to yourself as the trustee. Then the property is controlled by the terms of the trust and will be transferred upon your death to your named trust beneficiaries without the need for the Kentucky probate process.

Joint Ownership Can Avoid Probate

When property is jointly owned with right of survivorship, the surviving owner will become the sole owner automatically when the other owner dies. Each state has its own types of joint ownership, recognized by state law.

Property owned in joint tenancy automatically passes to the surviving owners when one of the joint owners dies, without the need for probate. In Kentucky, each owner, called a joint tenant, must own an equal share. Tenancy by the Entirety is like joint tenancy but is allowed only for married couples in Kentucky. In Kentucky, tenancy by the entirety is allowed for real estate only.

Payable-On-Death Designations For Bank Accounts

Kentucky allows residents to add a "payable-on-death" (POD) designation to bank accounts or certificates of deposit. This type of account allows you to retain control over your funds. Your POD beneficiary has no rights to the money, and you can spend it in any way you like during your lifetime. Then, at your death, the beneficiary can claim any remaining funds from the bank, without probate court proceedings.

Get Peace Of Mind Today

When you choose our firm to guide you through this critical step in life, you can trust us to provide thorough and personalized legal counsel to help relieve your anxieties.

To speak with attorney Carrie Ritsert, please dial toll-free at 800-785-7641 or send an email to set up a free initial consultation. Evening and weekend appointments can be arranged if necessary.