When you are appointed a personal representative for someone’s estate in Kentucky, you must go through the probate process. If you have never done this before, you are likely to have many questions about probate and what it involves.
Probate is the process of settling the estate of someone who has died. As a personal representative, it is your responsibility to handle the financial matters of the estate, otherwise called “administering” the estate.
Administering The Estate
These matters typically include distributing assets, paying debts, filing taxes and taking care of any other requirements to close out the estate.
If the decedent, or person who died, had a will, you file a petition and submit the will to probate and are officially made the personal representative, if the decedent designated you that in their will.
When there is no will, you still file the petition with the court, but the court appoints someone as a personal representative. A personal representative can also be called an executor or administrator.
Assets And Debts
The first step in the probate process is to identify and locate the decedent’s assets. This is much easier to do if they are listed in a will.
After the assets are located, the next step is to pay off any of the decedent’s debts and then distribute the assets to heirs. If there is no will, Kentucky probate laws must be followed to determine who gets the assets and in what order.
Depending on the circumstances, a final tax return for the decedent may need to be filed. It is your responsibility to do this and make sure any outstanding tax debt is paid.
Once all these steps are complete, you must prepare and file a settlement with the court. This is an accounting of the estate, declaring that all assets have been distributed and state the amount of compensation you received as the personal representative.
Completing all steps thoroughly and correctly is important to save time and money. Estate planning attorneys can advise and guide you along the way.