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Wills and Trusts

Wills:

A will is a document that declares what happens to a persons goods at the time of their death. You can revoke a will at any time during your life if you wish. If you pass away without a will, your property is distributed in accordance to your states laws. The law regarding who will inherit your possessions after you pass can get a little blurry at times, and the definitions of spouses and children aren’t always clear. The state may divide your belongings in the manner you desire or it may not. You state’s laws will determine how a person’s assets should be distributed should that person die without a valid will.

In order for your spouse to get what you want them to have, under the law, you have to be legally married, or meet certain criteria.

In Kentucky, here’s what happens if you pass without a will.

IF YOU DIE WITH: HERE’S WHAT HAPPENS:
  • children but no spouse
  • children inherit everything
  • spouse and descendants
  • spouse inherits 1/2 of your intestate property
  • descendants inherit 1/2 of your intestate property
  • spouse and parents, but no descendants
  • spouse inherits 1/2 of your intestate property
  • parents inherit 1/2 of your intestate property
  • spouse and siblings, but no descendants or parents
  • spouse inherits 1/2 of your intestate property
  • siblings inherit 1/2 of your intestate property
  • parents but no spouse or descendants
  • parents inherit everything
  • siblings but no spouse, descendants, or parents
  • siblings inherit everything

 

Trusts:

A trust is a financial arrangement that puts a third party, a trustee, to hold assets for a beneficiary or beneficiaries. Trusts can be arranged many ways, so you can specify exactly how your assets get passed on.

Trusts typically avoid probate, so your descendants can receive their inheritance more quickly than if you use a will. If you have an irrevocable trust, it may not be considered part of your taxable estate, so less taxes must be paid upon your death.