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Information Updated 11-2-2020
How long does it take to settle an estate in Kentucky after you inherit the property and open an estate or probate?
The probate process in Kentucky takes a minimum of 6 months. For most probate cases, you can assume the process will take 6-12 months to complete.
Once you have filed a Petition for Probate with the District Court in the county in which the decedent lived when they died, a hearing is scheduled to review the submitted documents to determine their validity, as well as to appoint the Executor or Administrator. Within sixty (60) days, the Executor must file an inventory of assets with the Court, listing the estimated value of the decedent’s assets at the time of death, and they must also provide notice of the open probate matter to all creditors of the decedent’s estate, as well as to potential heirs and beneficiaries. The estate must remain open for at least six (6) months to allow creditors to make claims against the estate, and all claims deemed valid by the Court must be paid out of the estate’s assets. If the estate is “financially sound,” the estate will pay the debts and costs of administration in full, and then distribute the remainder of the assets to the beneficiaries.
It’s also important to recognize some of the reasons why the probate process can take longer than you might expect. Other delays can be caused by the following factors:
- A multitude of beneficiaries can complicate the process. As a rule, estates that have many beneficiaries typically take longer to probate due to the need to properly communicate with every one of those heirs. When those heirs are scattered across multiple states or nations, that process can take even longer.
- Executors who lack the skills needed to effectively complete probate. If your estate’s executor is basically incompetent, then he or she might be plagued by a lack of organization or an inability to focus on the task at hand. That can make the entire process drag on.
- Tax issues. The main tax delay typically occurs in the area of estate tax obligations. If the estate is large enough to trigger those taxes, then it might take the executor time to get all the requisite information together. When taxes are due, everything related to asset distribution gets put on hold until the estate tax return is accepted by the IRS. That means that no money or assets go to heirs until the IRS evaluates the return and approves it – and that can take as much as a year to happen.
- Will contests or other beneficiary actions can slow the process too. If someone challenges the will, then there will be court processes to contend with – and that can slow the process considerably. If there are disagreements among family members that spill into the courts, the entire process can be disrupted in ways that cause probate to last far longer than it should.
- Complex estates can take longer to probate as well. Estates that contain assets with questionable value can also experience unexpected delays. For example, how much are family heirlooms truly worth? What about assets that take time to liquidate before they can be distributed to multiple heirs? Obviously, estates that contain simple, easy-to-distribute assets can generally be settled far more easily than those with more complex holdings.
NOTE: You still may be able to sell your property at this time! But you must adhere carefully to your state’s pertinent rules and regulations. The probate court will monitor every step and all aspects of the sale, and if you’re the executor, you, too, must monitor and approve all the terms of the sale. It can be a complex process, so it is important to work with experts in this field. Please reach out to us anytime and we can talk you through this process and connect you with attorneys that specialize in probate.
If you are dealing with probate right now and have real estate you need to sell but don’t know what to do next, please reach out to us. We can give you attorney referrals or explain a little bit more about how the process works and how we work in that process. We can also try to help answer any questions. No obligation. Reach out to us today!