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Sometimes estate settlement is one of the hardest aspects of dealing with the death of a family member. This doesn't have to be the case if proper preparation of all estate documents took place prior to the death. If you have the services of an experienced estate lawyer at your disposal, there can be even less worry and strife.
Probate: the official proving of a will. The probate process is intended to establish the legal validity of a will but it involves so much more than merely confirming that the signed, witnessed, and registered copy of a will is authentic.
119 North Hamilton Street , Georgetown , KY 40324
Phone: 502-863-0474 ext. 20509
Office Hours: 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Court Convenes 8:30 a.m., 1st Floor, Monday-Friday. We suggest that you visit the court office with the original copy of the will to file petition and obtain court date. There is a filing fee, which will vary between $41. and $110.
In addition to proving in a court of law that the deceased individual's will is valid, the Nolo website page, Probate FAQ, declares the probate process also involves:
Examination of contents of a decedent's safe deposit box to find will or funeral arrangements.
If satisfactory proof of the death of the lessee is presented and the interested person possesses a key to the lessee's safe deposit box, a lessor shall permit an interested person to open and examine the contents of a safe deposit box leased by a decedent in the presence of an employee of the lessor for one (1) or both of the following purposes:
• To conduct a will search; and
• To obtain any document purporting to be a deed to a burial plot or to give funeral or burial instructions.
If the safe deposit box is opened for the purpose of conducting a will search, an employee of the lessor shall remove any document that appears to be a will and make a true and correct machine copy thereof, replace the copy in the box, and then deliver the original thereof to the person requesting the search.
If the safe deposit box is opened for the purpose of obtaining any document purporting to be a deed to a burial plot or to give funeral or burial instructions, the employee of the lessor shall make a true and correct machine copy thereof, replace the copy in the box, and then deliver the original thereof to the person requesting the search.
No contents of a safe deposit box other than a will and a document purporting to be a deed to a burial plot or to give funeral or burial instructions may be removed under this section.
On the court date, it is necessary that you have the original copy of the Will and at least one person who witnessed the deceased’s signature on the Will. A witness is not necessary if the Will is self-proving. When your case is called before the probate judge, you will be asked to come before the bench, at which time the judge will review the Will and appoint the executor/administrator.
The judge needs to know the approximate size and make-up of the estate in order to establish a bond value. This should include all personal and real property:
value and identity of real estate
values and account numbers of checking or savings accounts, certificates of deposit, etc.
values of stocks and bonds
automobiles, boats, etc.
Once appointed, return to the probate office to obtain a copy of the order appointing the Executor/Administrator at the probate court office. The day of the appointment you must be prepared to pay approximately $41-$110. The court will accept checks or debit cards.
When someone dies without leaving a dated, signed and properly witnessed will, the court decides who should receive the deceased's assets. It won't matter what your familial relationships were really like; the state will award property and cash to the survivors based solely on their legal relationship to the deceased. This is called dying 'intestate' and Nolo offers these basics about succession when there is no will: "Generally, only spouses, registered domestic partners (in states where that's an option), and blood relatives inherit under intestate succession laws; unmarried partners, friends, and charities get nothing.
All this can be avoided, if you take care of things ahead of time. When you leave documents that clearly state who you wish to get your property and cash after you die, you better support your survivors in coming to terms with your death without leaving them with a lot of unnecessary distress.
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