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What happens during the Kentucky probate process?

On Behalf of | May 22, 2023 | Probate & Estate Administration

After someone dies, their property becomes their estate, and there will often be probate requirements to settle their affairs. Provided that the value of the estate is $30,000 or more, formal court oversight is required. However, people can take up to 10 years to complete the probate process after someone dies.

Procrastination can lead to frustrations for those with an interest in an estate, and most families will benefit from the timely completion of the probate process. Beginning the probate process usually requires that someone files paperwork with the probate courts. After receiving a petition to open probate, the Kentucky courts can name (or approve) an executor to handle estate administration and probate proceedings.

The executor must communicate with multiple parties

The executor of an estate in Kentucky will typically need to file an inventory of the estate’s assets with the courts within 60 days of assuming their role. After fulfilling the first steps with the probate courts, they will begin the estate administration process.

They will also need to review someone’s financial records to identify as many creditors as possible and begin the process of notifying those creditors about the upcoming probate proceedings. The executor will also need to communicate with the beneficiaries of the estate to inform them of their potential inheritance and of the beginning of the probate process. Creditors will have time to make claims against the estate, and the executor willing to settle such claims before they distribute the resources from the estate to beneficiaries. They will need to apprise the court of their progress and file final paperwork settling the estate when they complete the process.

The acts taken during estate administration, including actually handing out resources and settling debts, often occur during the probate process but are technically separate and do not directly involve the courts in most cases. The probate process largely involves communicating with the courts so that they can oversee estate administration and ensure someone fulfills their obligations.

Typically, probate proceedings in Kentucky require at least six months to complete, although sometimes probate will take a year or longer to complete. Seeking legal guidance to better understand what to expect during the Kentucky probate process may take some of the anxiety out of estate administration for executors and beneficiaries alike.