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What is an inheritance?

On Behalf of | May 8, 2023 | Probate & Estate Administration |

When someone in Kentucky receives an inheritance, they receive assets that have been bequeathed to them by friends or loved ones after they pass away. An inheritance can include real estate, cash, investments, art or anything of value that the deceased individual leaves behind.

An inheritance when there is a will

Individuals can use a will as an estate planning tool to determine who will receive their assets. They can distribute everything evenly or specify particular items for specific people. However, the will must undergo probate for the inheritance process to proceed.

During probate, a court evaluates the will, authorizes an executor and transfers assets to beneficiaries based on the will’s stipulations. The executor is responsible for clearing any remaining debts before the financial transfer occurs.

An inheritance when there is no will

The inheritance process becomes more complicated when someone does not provide instructions on how their assets should be distributed after death. The probate court must then be responsible for determining the deceased’s intentions. The court will examine the deceased individual’s bank accounts, stocks, retirement plans and brokerage accounts to determine the beneficiaries specified. However, allocating assets such as heirlooms, real estate and property can take more work.

After the probate court has established a plan, an appointed administrator can access the estate and distribute assets. The process can be lengthy and take several years.

Putting restrictions on inheritances

The beneficiary of an inheritance may face limitations. The person creating the will can specify that the inheritance gets paid out in installments over several years or designate it for specific purposes, such as purchasing a home or funding education. Additionally, the person can set milestones, such as marriage or graduation, that must be reached before receiving the inheritance.

Creating a will or trust can be a time-consuming aspect of financial planning. However, when done correctly, it provides peace of mind and simplifies the estate distribution process after the individual’s death.