If you are married with children in Kentucky and you die without a Will, your spouse will split all of the assets that pass through probate with the children.
For example, if you are married and have two children, your spouse would get 50% of the Probated Assets and each child would receive 25%. See KRS 390.020 (http://www.lrc.ky.gov/statutes/statute.aspx?id=36175). Now, there are certain setoffs available for the surviving spouse (namely a $15,000 spousal exemption, which is also available to children if no spouse survives, see KRS 391.030 (http://www.lrc.ky.gov/statutes/statute.aspx?id=36132), but any business, real property, or personal property held solely in the name of the deceased will be divided between your spouse and your children.
As a kicker, if your children are under the age of 18, your spouse will have to go to court and set up a Guardianship outside of probate so that the Court can oversee your spouse’s use of the children’s portion of the Probated Assets. Each year your spouse will have to provide an updated inventory and ask the Court’s permission to use funds for school, clothes, or whatever else is required to support the needs of the children.
A standard Will can eliminate this issue by bequeathing your spouse all of your assets. Also, it is important to make sure all accounts have properly listed beneficiaries and real property deeded jointly in order to eliminate the mess that is created when a spouse dies without a will (intestate) in Kentucky.
R&R offers flat rate Estate Planning services for many of our clients. We provide prompt, courteous, and efficient solutions for our clients. Please call (502) 423-1600 to schedule your free consultation and flat rate quote (if applicable). Quit putting off what everyone knows that they need, and rest assured that your affairs will be in order if you purchase an R&R Estate Plan.
This is not legal advice, and no attorney-client relationship is established by this blog. R&R is conveniently located at 10345 Linn Station Road, Louisville, Kentucky 40223, just minutes off of I-64 and Hurstbourne Parkway. Generally, only one face-to-face office visit is required as we utilize technology to make the process convenient and relaxed as possible.