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Kentucky Wills Laws

Most people want to choose who inherits what from them when they pass away. Without a will and/or trust documents dictating your wishes, the state you reside in when you pass will use various state laws to determine who inherits from you, which are called intestate succession laws.

Kentucky also regulates how a will can be created, revoked, updated, and probated (administered or assets transferred) via its will laws. The table below details the main wills laws in Kentucky.

Code Sections Kentucky Revised Statutes Chapter 394 – Wills
Age of Person Creating Will The person creating the will or “testator” must be at least 18 years or older and “of sound mind.” Persons under 18 may be granted the power to write a while, such as possibly a married minor. Also, a parent, though under 18, may by will appoint a guardian for his or her child.
Number of Witnesses If will is not wholly handwritten by the testator, the testator must sign and acknowledge the will in the presence of at least two credible witnesses. If unable to sign, due to illiteracy or physical disability, the testator must direct someone else to sign the will for him or her. The witnesses must also sign in presence of the testator and each other.
Revocation of Wills Kentucky law permits a will be revoked by:
  1. A subsequent will
  2. A declaration of the intent to revoke the will
  3. The person who made the will or someone else in his or her presence and at his or her direction destroying the will by tearing, burning, cutting or otherwise destroying the will or signature with the intent to revoke the will
Oral Wills Oral wills, also known as nuncupative wills, aren’t recognized by Kentucky.
Handwritten Wills Holographic or handwritten wills are recognized if “wholly written by the testator.” However, there’s some risk that that if the will is worded incorrectly, due to lack of legal knowledge, vagueness, typos, etc., it won’t be found valid. Wills by laypeople and lawyers are held to the same rules in probate court.

No matter what stage in life you’re in, from buying your first home to having your first grandchild, you may want to create a will or update your current will to dictate what happens to your property and assets when you pass on. There are many self-help will forms that you can use, especially if you have little assets. However, with more significant resources, you may want to speak to an experienced Kentucky estate planning lawyer about your options, including creating wills, trusts, and advanced health care directives.

Note: State laws are constantly frequently, therefore you should verify the laws you’re reading about by conducting your own legal research or contacting an attorney.

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