How to Contest a Will in Kentucky

by Joseph Nicholson
The decision of a district court can be challenged in the circuit court of the same Kentucky county.

The decision of a district court can be challenged in the circuit court of the same Kentucky county.

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The will of a Kentucky resident must be probated in the district court of the county in which the person lived in at the time of his death. Sometimes, there may be an opportunity to contest the will prior to its approval by the district court, but the court can approve the will without a hearing. Once the will has been approved or rejected, the procedure for challenging this decision involves filing a complaint with a higher court.

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Step 1

Confirm your status as an aggrieved person. Generally, this means that your rights after the district court's decision to accept or reject the will are less than what they would have been had the opposite decision been reached. If you are challenging the validity of the will, it may be that you are entitled to receive a greater share of the estate under the laws of intestacy than if the will is successfully probated.

Step 2

File a complaint in the circuit court of the same county as the district court that ruled on the will. This must be done within two years of the district court's decision on the will. If the action is filed within 12 months of the decision, filing the complaint freezes any further distribution of estate assets and any other actions in the probate court.

Step 3

File a notice with the county clerk. The notice must state the name of the testator, the style of the circuit court action, the name of the court, the file number assigned to the action, the cause of the action and the date on which the action was commenced. As of January 2011, there is a filing fee of $8.

Step 4

Serve papers on all necessary parties. Any person necessary to the proceedings in circuit court to establish the validity or invalidity of the will must be served with a copy of the complaint and a court summons. Necessary parties include anyone with an adverse interest to the relief sought in the circuit court.

Step 5

File an appeal in the court of appeals. The decision of the circuit court can be appealed to the court of appeals according to the normal rules of appellate procedure in Kentucky.