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Does every estate need to go through probate?

On Behalf of | Nov 9, 2021 | Probate & Estate Administration |

You probably don’t want to think about it, but if you are the executor of a loved one’s estate, will you have to go through probate when that person passes? Not every estate in Kentucky must go through probate if the proper legal documents are already in place.

Probate primarily applies to larger estates

Probate generally applies to larger estates where the survivors must pay taxes on the estate proceeds left to them. An estate will also need to go through probate if the decedent did not leave a will. If a loved one passes away suddenly, it’s in your best interest to look for a will as soon as possible to avoid going through probate court. Property that usually doesn’t require going through probate includes:

  • Retirement accounts with named beneficiaries
  • Life insurance proceeds
  • Transferable-on-death accounts
  • Assets held in living trusts
  • Property held in joint ownership
  • Household goods and other items

Nevertheless, some property must still go through the probate process even if a will does exist. Examples include real estate held in the name of the deceased person or larger items such as cars or boats.

Navigating probate and estate administration

If you’re responsible for sorting out a loved one’s state, examine all available documents to make sure you don’t have to go through probate because the process can be lengthy and expensive. For those considering how to leave their own assets, careful estate administration can help your beneficiaries avoid going through probate.

Thinking about your estate needs well before the necessary time can avoid many problems after your passing. Even if you do have a will in place, it’s wise to review your legal documents every few years. Circumstances can change, so make sure that you update your estate documents regularly.