During the probate process, the decedent’s will is verified, the estate’s debts are settled and any outstanding taxes are paid. When all of this has been done, the decedent’s assets are distributed according to the provisions of their will. Probate is a complex, public and sometimes costly process, but many estates in Kentucky are able to avoid it.
Small estate administration in Kentucky
Estates worth less than $30,000 can avoid the full probate process in Kentucky as long as there is a surviving spouse or surviving children. Real estate and assets not subject to probate, such as life insurance policies and 401(k) accounts, are not considered when an estate’s value is calculated. To avoid probate, the decedent’s surviving spouse or children must submit a Petition to Dispense with Administration to the court. When this petition is granted, the estate’s assets pass immediately to the surviving spouse or children. These assets are exempt from creditor claims, and an executor does not have to be appointed.
Dispensing with probate by agreement
Estates in Kentucky may also avoid probate if the decedent did not leave a will, the estate has no debts and all of the heirs agree in writing to dispense with administration. In some situations, it may be prudent for heirs to satisfy an estate’s debts in order to qualify for this streamlined process. There is no limit to the size of estate that can be administered by agreement, but a Petition to Dispense with Administration by Agreement must be submitted to the probate court.
Probate is a complex and public process that can drag on for months. In Kentucky, estates worth less than $30,000 can avoid probate as long as there is a surviving spouse or surviving children. Larger estates can also avoid probate in Kentucky if all the heirs agree, the decedent did not leave a will and the estate has no outstanding debts.