Answers to FAQs From a Louisville Wills Lawyer

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When you pass away, you leave behind not just your loved ones, but also your estate. Working with a Louisville Wills Lawyer can help you determine what happens to your estate when this happens.

What Is An Estate?

An estate is your net worth — your assets minus your liabilities.

What Are Assets?

Assets are any real and personal property you legally own.

Real property refers to land and includes everything of a permanent nature over and under the land, such as structures and minerals.

Personal property is any type of property that is movable and not fixed permanently to a location, e.g. cash, bank accounts, investments, art, clothing, furniture, electronics, books, vehicles, etc.

What Are Liabilities?

Liabilities are your debts, such as bills, loans, and other financial obligations.

What Happens To My Estate After My Death?

Your estate will go through the probate process to be distributed to your inheritors after your liabilities and taxes are paid.  Learn more.

If you died without a will (intestate), then your estate is disposed of in accordance to Kentucky’s interstate laws.  The assets you legally own will be distributed to your closest relatives.  Intestate succession depends on who is living:

If you die with living: But no living: Your intestate property is inherited by:
Children Spouse Children: 100%
Grandchildren Spouse and children Grandchildren: 100%
Spouse and descendants Spouse: 50%Descendants: 50%
Spouse and parents Descendants Spouse: 50%Parents: 50%
Spouse and siblings (including “half” siblings”), Descendants or parents Spouse: 50%Siblings: 50%
Spouse Descendants, parents or siblings Spouse: 100%
Parents Spouse or descendants Parents: 100%
Siblings Spouse, descendants, parents Siblings: 100%
Next closest living relative(s) Spouse, descendants, parents, or siblings Closets living relative(s): 100%
Living relatives Kentucky: 100%


Why Does My Spouse Only Get Half of My Estate?

Kentucky’s “dower and curtesy” law dictates that your spouse inherits only half of your estate.

What Do My Children Inherit?

Your children’s inheritance depends on how many children you have, whether you are married, and whether Kentucky legally recognizes them as your children:

  • Adopted children.  Like your biological children, children you legally adopt, will receive equal shares of your estate.
  • Foster and stepchildren.  If you did not legally adopt your foster or stepchildren, they receive nothing.
  • Children placed for adoption.  Children you placed for adoption and whom another family legally adopted will receive nothing.  If your spouse adopted your children, they still receive a share of your estate.
  • Posthumous children.  Your biological children born after your death will receive a share only if they are born within ten months after your death.
  • Children born outside of marriage.  Children born to a person you were not married to will receive a share if:

(1) Your marriage was illegal or void; or,

(2) Your paternity was established under Kentucky law.

Can I Protect My Estate?

Having a will can protect your estate from being inherited by unwanted people while ensuring that your estate goes to your beneficiaries.  Learn more. 

Are There Exceptions?

Neither your will nor Kentucky’s intestate laws affect all of your assets, such as:

  • Properties transferred to a living trust
  • Life insurance proceeds
  • IRA, 401(k) or other retirement account funds
  • Securities held in a transfer-on-death account
  • Payable-on-death bank accounts
  • Property owned with someone else or to pass to surviving spouse

These assets pass to the surviving co-owner or your named beneficiaries.

Legal Representation

As an experienced and knowledgeable Louisville estate lawyer, I will be able to assist you to:

  • Prepare your simple will
  • Probate your deceased loved one’s estate.

You may contact me at (502) 561-3455 or by completing the form on this website.


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Areas Served :

Patricia Abell's Law office is located in Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky. My office serves clients living in the Kentucky counties of Breckinridge, Bullitt, Hardin, Jefferson, Larue, Marion, Meade, Nelson, Oldham, Spencer and Washington, This includes the cities of Cloverport, Hardinsburg, Irvington, Fox Chase, Hebron Estates, Hillview, Lebanon Junction, Mount Washington, Pioneer Village, Shepherdsville, Elizabethtown, Radcliff, Sonora, Upton, Vine Grove, West Point, Anchorage, Audubon Park, Buechel, Goose Creek, Hurstbourne, Jeffersontown, Okolona, Prospect, Hodgenville, Bradfordsville, Lebanon, Loretto, Raywick, Brandenburg, Ekron, Muldraugh, Bardstown, Bloomfield, Fairfield, New Haven, Crestwood, Goshen, Lagrange, Pewee Valley, Taylorsville, Elk Creek, Mount Eden, Springfield.