Help with Probate and Estates in Louisville, Kentucky
Probate is the process of having a person's Last Will and Testament validated and proven to be the legitimate final words and declaration by sworn testimony. Some people find it surprising to learn that a will is not effective until it has been shown that the person who signed it has died and that the legal formalities surrounding its signing were followed. Others believe that depositing a will with the county clerk for safekeeping automatically probates the instrument, but this is likewise incorrect. (Incidentally, the statute authorizing the deposit of a person's will with the county clerk, KRS 394.110, was repealed in 2019.)
Normally, there is more to be done in an estate than simply having a will probated. An Executor is usually appointed to administer or collect, take control of, and then distribute the assets in accordance with the “testator's” instructions after the payment of debts. If certain persons are named as beneficiaries to receive assets from the estate that are not exempt from inheritance taxes, a tax return is required to be filed and the tax paid before a settlement of the estate can be filed.
Of course, sometimes the administration of estate stalls. This can be caused by lawsuits filed during the administration over various issues in the case, including debts of the deceased person. Or the case could drag on simply because the Executor is not familiar with the administration process and did not have an attorney to help explain what was required when the case was initially filed. Or, as in many cases, the Executor finds that the information submitted to the court is has been deemed insufficient and needs assistance to resolve the deficiencies to close the administration.