Most people are aware of the general purpose of a will — when a person dies, the existence of a will provides a guide for how to distribute the deceased’s property. However, many people do not know what happens if you die without a will. You may assume that your property would be given to the people that make the most “sense,” e.g. your spouse or children. Unfortunately, this is not always the case, and the process of navigating post-death concerns without a will may not be as easy as you may think.
It is true that without this important document, there is little guidance for how a deceased person’s property will be doled out to family members and loved ones. The situation can get extra complicated if the person who died without a will (otherwise known as dying “intestate”) left behind a large sum of money, real estate properties, investments, and other complex financial items.
Who is Entitled to the Deceased’s Property?
The people who are entitled to an intestate person’s property will depend on their relationships, the property they owned in life, and other factors. Generally, when a person dies without a will, their property will go to the people closest to them such as their spouse and/or children. Of course, not everyone’s family situation is this uncomplicate. The deceased’s property can also be given to their parents, siblings, and other family members. Without a will, it’s possible that your property could potentially end up in the hands of an estranged family member, your spouse’s children from a previous marriage, and others.
Additionally, property distribution is not as straightforward as your spouse simply receiving everything you’ve left behind if you die without a will. Your estate would need to enter probate, which is a highly complex process.
What Does the Probate Process in Kentucky Involve?
Probate, in cases of intestacy, is the process in which the matters of an estate are decided on in the absence of a will. Every state has different laws on how to distribute property. In Kentucky, the spouse of a deceased person will get everything if there are no children or other descendants, but if there are descendants, spouses generally receive half of the estate. The specific amounts given to each person depend on the deceased’s family structure. All of these details will be discussed in probate court, and the details of the deceased person’s estate will be finalized.
As you can see, having a will is an important part of ensuring your property is distributed according to your wishes and that your family avoids complex legal proceedings when you die. For help with creating a will, navigating probate, or other estate planning issues, get in touch with Walker Wallace PLC today.
Contact us online or call (502) 937-1125 to schedule a free consultation.