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What should I know about creating a will in Kentucky?

On Behalf of | Jun 17, 2022 | Estate Planning |

In Richmond and other areas of Kentucky, people are family-oriented and interested in passing their property forward to loved ones in a seamless and effective manner. To achieve this, it is important to understand the value of estate planning. While there are many ways to design an estate plan, those who are looking for a relatively simply option should consider a will. One of the fundamental parts of making a will is understanding what it is and what it does. This is first and foremost and can be advanced by having advice from those who know the law and how to prepare a will.

Key points about wills

A will details how a person’s property will be distributed after they have died. For example, if the person – the testator – wants to leave a marital home to their spouse, they can state that in their will. The same is true for other properties whether it is personal or professional. When making the will, an executor will be named. The executor is the person who bears the responsibility of ensuring that the will is followed as the testator wanted. Those who do not have a will when they die will have died intestate. This leaves their property to the state and the laws of intestacy to determine as to how they are distributed. It might end as the person would have wanted had they created a will. Those who still have dependents can name a guardian for those dependents.

What makes a will valid?

There are specific requirements for a will to be considered valid. First, the testator must be a legal adult and 18-years-old. There are times when parents are younger than 18. In that situation, they can have a legal document that states who will care for their children as guardians if they are unable to do so.

Those creating a will must be of sound mind. This could have many meanings, but in general it refers to the person being fully cognizant of what a will is, what it does, how their property is impacted and who will be receiving that property. Two witnesses must be present and sign the will. Those who are beneficiaries are not eligible to sign it. If there is a misstep in this critical part of the process, it could render the will invalid.

Most wills are typewritten, but a person can write it in their own handwriting. This is a holographic will. The person must write it, sign it and date it. With this type of will, there is no need for witnesses, but a person who recognizes the handwriting would need to testify as to its legitimacy. Wills can and should be updated as necessary. People’s lives change as time passes and the will should reflect that. That can include having a child, getting married, getting divorced, having grandchildren, selling property, acquiring property and more.

Knowing the basics of crafting a will generally requires competent assistance

When creating a will or any other type of estate plan, it is not only important to have professional guidance, but it is crucial to have assistance from those who are entrenched in the community and are fully aware of local concerns. Having comprehensive and professional help that knows the area and has an idea of what its residents are trying to do is beneficial.

Whether it is a young person just starting out who wants to protect a growing family; a middle-aged person who is thinking about the future and wants to make certain their spouse, children and grandchildren are cared for; or an older person who is interested in leaving a positive legacy, having advice is imperative. Business owners and those who own substantial property are wise to have a comprehensive estate plan. The basics of creating a will and moving forward with it generally require experienced assistance. Discussing the goals with qualified and caring people can go a long way to achieving the desired results.