A Kentucky personal representative lawyer is the person who you should contact if you have recently been notified that you will be serving as a personal representative or were named as one in a loved one’s estate pursuant to Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 395.105. These circumstances are hard enough to deal with when you were close to the person who passed away but it can also inflame existing family relationships when you have to step in to the role of personal representative.
Many people in these circumstances retain a Kentucky personal representative lawyer immediately after being appointed to ensure that they have a clear understanding of how to handle these new tasks. The sooner you can retain a lawyer the easier it will be for you to protect your rights as a personal representative.
Understanding the Role of Personal Representative in Kentucky
A personal representative is appointed by the court to handle closing out another person’s estate. This includes matters associated with probate. Not every asset owned by a person at the time of their death does fall under the estate. Personal representatives are often named in the will of the deceased person but when no such will exists the Kentucky court still must set someone up to serve in this role. You might hear this role referred to as an administrator, personal representative or executor but they are all a key component of the probate procedure.
Understanding Estate Administration Duties in Kentucky
As a Kentucky personal representative lawyer can tell you the personal representative has 60 days after being appointed in their role to submit an overall inventory of the estate’s assets with the district court. It falls to the personal representative to decide which of those assets belong in the probate estate and which of those will go to beneficiaries outside of probate.
Another key reason to retain a personal representative attorney in Kentucky is to understand the state’s priority order listing for claim payments. Some creditor claims for an estate are preferred, such as taxes, funeral expenses, and other creditor claims given priority order under federal or state law. Once the estate has been opened, creditors must be notified to be given a chance to come forward. Any entity who can submit proof of their payment of a preferred claim is eligible to submit a petition to transfer a portion of the estate to them as a preferred creditor.
Settling an Estate in Kentucky
After taxes and debts owed by that estate are all paid, all remaining materials must be transferred to heirs. At that point in time the Kentucky personal representative must send in a final settlement to district court. Final settlement cannot be submitted until it has been at least 6 months from the date that the personal representative was put in that role. A periodic settlement to the district court must be provided if settling the estate takes over two years. A formal settlement requires careful consideration of all of the details and transactions undertaken by the personal representative.
This includes detailed records of all distributions and receipts along with cancelled checks that must also account for any distributions to heirs, compensation paid to the personal rep, and fees paid to the lawyer. This can be impractical or even cumbersome in certain complex estates. For informal settlement, each heir has to sign a waiver explaining that they received their share of the estate and waive the requirements of formal settlement. To understand how this could potentially impact the distribution of an estate to which you have been appointed as personal representative, set aside time to meet with an experienced personal representative attorney serving Kentucky today.