If you are a Kentucky resident and you have recently lost a loved one, you might wonder whether you will be getting your inheritance immediately. In part, this depends on how the person’s assets were passed to you.
When probate is unnecessary
Certain assets may not have to go through a legal process known as probate. For example, if there is a trust, the person may have specified that the asset should be given to you at a particular time, such as when you reach a certain age. Other assets may come more quickly if they are passed in certain ways, such as by beneficiary designations. However, if the person used a will, there will probably be a probate process.
The probate process
Most of the time, there are not major issues in probate, but knowing the process can help you better understand the timeline. An executor has to locate all assets and pay any creditors. They also need to file tax returns. Finally, assets can be distributed to heirs. If there is not an estate plan, the court appoints an estate administrator and assets are distributed based on Kentucky law. Trusts, their purposes and how they are administered vary a great deal, so what happens is less uniform. However, for a trust created primarily to pass assets reasonably quickly to heirs before being closed, a trustee may follow a roughly similar process.
For a fairly straightforward trust or will, this usually takes a few months. If there is a dispute about the person’s will or other estate planning issues, legal proceedings could drag on for years. It could also take a year or more if the person’s estate is particularly complex.