The attorneys at The Potter Law Firm are committed to educating their clients, as well as all Ashland, Kentucky residents. So, we provide a comprehensive electronic library of special reports covering numerous estate planning and probate issues. We also update our legal blog regularly in order to provide updates on the ever-changing laws relating to estate planning, probate and other legal areas we handle. Finally, our seminars are always a valuable source of information. Ultimately, it is our desire that Ashland, Kentucky residents stay informed. Here, we have provided a few links to useful probate resources.
Boyd County Probate Court
Ashland is located in Boyd County and the court that handles probate matters for Ashland falls within the Thirty-Second Judicial District for the state of Kentucky. The probate forms used in proceedings in Ashland are the same that are used across the state. Another resource for probate can be found in the Guide to Basic Kentucky Probate Procedures.
The Probate Process in Ashland, Kentucky
When you use a last will to distribute your resources to your loved ones after your passing the estate must go through the legal process of probate, and there are reasons why you may want to avoid this. One of them is the fact that probate can consume a lot of time and the heirs to the estate do not receive their due until the probate court closes the matter. This court would also hear any arguments that disgruntled parties may have concerning the validity of the will.
There are a number of specific tasks that must be performed during the probate process. They include:
- Presenting the will to the probate court
- Locating assets and protecting them
- Evaluating the estate
- Identifying beneficiaries listed in the will
- Notifying creditors
- Paying valid debts
- Determining any taxes owed by the estate
- Giving a final accounting to the court
The responsibilities of an executor
In your role as an executor, you are charged with the responsibility of overseeing the probate process that will settle your loved one’s estate. In some instances, this will involve relatively little work – especially when the decedent’s estate is straightforward and lacking in complexity. In other instances, it could be a long, drawn-out affair that involves many assets, a stream of creditor claims, or even disgruntled heirs. Usually, it’s something between those two extremes.
You are allowed to retain professionals for assistance
Don’t forget that asset appraisals, accounting, tax preparation, and even legal assistance from an attorney are all services that you’re entitled to retain – at the estate’s expense. And while you might not need that help for smaller estates, you shouldn’t hesitate to get help with more complex cases.
Retaining an attorney can protect executors from liability
Of course, there is another way to protect yourself: retain an attorney. With a competent probate attorney by your side, you can better manage these complex issues and have the comfort that comes from knowing that your personal interests are protected. Even when you’re confident that you can manage these tasks on your own, it’s still helpful to have a professional in your corner to provide that extra layer of protection.
The executor’s duties as a fiduciary
Executors have multiple duties that must be fulfilled. These include a duty to take possession of and protect the decedent’s assets. You also have a duty to ensure that creditors are properly reimbursed for all valid debts. There’s a fiduciary duty to the heirs as well since it is your job to faithfully protect their interests in the estate, even as you’re paying debts and taxes as part of the probate process. You also owe a duty to the probate court, providing it with timely accountings and reports so that it can fulfill its supervisory responsibilities.
If you have questions regarding probate matters, please contact the experienced attorneys at The Potter Law Firm for a consultation. You can contact us either online or by calling us at (606) 324-5516 (Ashland, KY) or (859) 372-6655 (Florence, KY) or for individuals in North Carolina at (704) 944-3245 (Charlotte, NC, and Huntersville, NC).