Louisville KY Personal Injury Lawyer – Bixler Howland P.S.C.

Unveiling Inheritance Laws

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You may have heard of someone who inherited money or property from a long lost relative they didn’t know existed and of whom they had never heard.  You may have also heard of investigators who specialize in locating lost relatives for estate purposes.  Maybe you have wished you had an unknown rich uncle who died and left you a lot of money. Did you ever wonder how those inheritances came about?

It was reported to me recently that in an “Elder law” seminar, an attorney made the statement to the audience that if you don’t have a will, your property will go to the State.  If that were true, the stories about long lost heirs would not exist.  The truth is that every State has laws which control the distribution of assets if someone dies without a Last Will and Testament. 

These laws are called statutes of Descent and Distribution. In Kentucky, the statute is KRS 391.010.  They generally provide how an intestate estate (an estate without a will) will be distributed to relatives in descending order of kinship with children being the first to inherit in many states.  Spouses are not necessarily fully protected. 

For this reason alone, it is important to have a Last Will and Testament so that you, and not the statutes of the State, makes the determination how your property, which is not held jointly with another person, passes at your death.  Only if you die without a will and without relatives does your property ultimately go to the State.  Do your research and ask questions before you do your estate planning.

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