In Kentucky, "estate planning" broadly refers to the process through which someone decides what is to be done with their assets after death.
The first step in any estate plan is to figure out what you truly want to be done with your assets after your death. This is a very personal decision, and you should discuss it with your family, and others who might have a direct interest in your decisions. As for truly implementing your goals, you should probably speak with a legal and/or financial professional to figure out the best way to accomplish these intentions.
In addition to decisions concerning the disposition of your property, you should decide how you want to spend your final days. For example, many people have a strong preference about whether and to what extent they'd like to be kept alive by artificial means. Whatever your sentiment on this matter is, you should make it clear to the people who will be positioned to make such arrangements for you, if you are unable.
A knowledgeable estate planner in Kentucky may also help you maximize the percentage of your assets that go to your chosen beneficiaries, by minimizing the impact of taxes and court fees. Moreover, preventing a will or other estate plan from being litigated in court will save your survivors an incalculable amount of time, money, and energy - and the better an estate plan is, the lower its chances of ending up in court.
Common Elements of Estates in Kentucky
Estate plans in Kentucky almost always have these features:
Will: If you've decided who you want to leave your property and money to after you die, you should make these wishes official, by writing a will. When writing a will, it's always a good idea to have the help of an attorney, since many problems can come up which might make the will much more difficult to implement, or they might even void it entirely. Common problems include ambiguities in the terms of the will (a term which is not clearly written, so it can be interpreted differently by reasonable people), as well as failure to follow the required formalities.
Power of Attorney: Granting someone "power of attorney" gives them the power to make your decisions for you if it becomes impossible for you to do so. This incapacity can arise due to illness, injury, or mental incapacity.
Funeral Arrangements: Your wishes on this matter should be made clear to whoever is in a position to implement them early on in the estate planning process, and should not be included in a will. Because a will is often read days or weeks after the person dies, it may be too late by then to carry your wishes out.
Do I Need a Kentucky Estate Planning Attorney?
Estate planning is very important (if you care about what happens to your family after your death), and can involve some pretty challenging decisions. It should be clear, then, that a knowledgeable Kentucky estate planning attorney will likely be worth the cost, because they can give your wishes the best possible chance of taking effect.
Interesting Facts About Kentucky
The state of Kentucky is known as "the Bluegrass State". Kentucky is known for its iconic attractions, such as the Kentucky Derby, fine bourbon, and bluegrass music. Located in the eastern south central parts of the U.S., Kentucky has contributed much in the areas of manufacturing, crop production, and professional sports. It used to be a part of Virginia and officially became a state in the year 1792.
Along with three other states, Kentucky is one of the few states that use the word "commonwealth" in their official names. It is also listed among the states that have a state police force. Unlike local police forces, the jurisdiction of the Kentucky State Police extends throughout the entirety of Kentucky. The State Police force enforces Kentucky's laws, which are compiled into the Kentucky Revised Statutes. These were enacted in 1942, and help to organize Kentucky laws.
Kentucky's judicial branch is officially named the Kentucky Court of Justice. It maintains several courts, including the District Courts, Circuit Courts, Court of Appeals, and the Kentucky Supreme Court. Kentucky also operates a few specialty courts such as the Drug Court, which provides alternative approaches to certain drug offenses.
Kentucky lawyers address the various legal needs of the communities they serve in. Lawyers in Kentucky offer assistance in a variety of fields and perform tasks such as document review, answering legal questions, and representing clients in court. A Kentucky attorney can help you obtain the appropriate form of legal relief.