Wills and Estate Planning
Estate planning is not just for the wealthy or those of us of advanced age. At some point, everyone needs to give serious thought to their estate plan. Every adult in the Commonwealth should have, at a minimum the following legal documents as part of a comprehensive estate plan:
- A Living Will – To express one’s specific guidance and direction regarding health care, and the possible withdrawal of certain types of health care, in the event of certain health conditions.
- A Power of Attorney – To provide for the management of one’s property and financial affairs by another, particularly in the event of one’s absence or temporary or permanent incapacity, and to avoid the costs and inconvenience of a court supervised guardianship or conservatorship in such events.
- A Will – To provide for the disposition of property upon death; to appoint executors to handle the estate administration process (or probate); and to appoint guardians for the custody and care of minor children. If you want the money you leave behind for your children to go to them at an age later than when they become adults at age 18, you may also consider creating either a testamentary trust in your will, or having a revocable living trusts instead. In Kentucky, wills must be signed at the end of the document by a “testator” (individual seeking disposition of their property upon their death) that is 18 years or older, of sound mind, and the signing of the will must be witnesses by at least two individuals capable of witnessing the will. The witnesses should not be someone who will or could receive an inheritance from the testator.
- Self Proving Will – Kentucky law permits individuals to may their will “self-proving.” A self-proving will speeds up probate because the court can accept the will without contacting the witnesses who signed it. You and the two or more witnesses must sign it in the presence of a notary, who will then notarize the will.
- Holographic Will – A holographic will does away with the witness requirement under Kentucky law. However, the entire document must be written in the testator’s handwriting and signed by the testator at the bottom.
Estate planning arrangements can also include trusts:
- Trusts (including living trusts) – To provide for the management, control and disposition of property for oneself, one’s spouse, one’s children and other beneficiaries, during the client’s life and after death; to reduce the impact of estate and inheritance taxes; to reduce or avoid probate; and other goals.
With probate matters, your attorney will attend court hearings and assist with estate taxes and finalizing the probate. He can also draft estate planning documents and represent executors in probate proceedings. To better serve your estate needs, Apollo Law, PLLC handles filings for living wills, powers of attorney, and wills. Call Apollo Law, PLLC at (502) 395-3665 for a free consultation.