Estate Laws in Kansas

By Heather Frances J.D.

The Kansas Probate Code governs how Kansas estates are distributed after the owner’s death. This process will be different depending on the size of the decedent's estate and whether he died with or without a will. Proper estate planning before your death can help make the probate process easier for the people you leave behind.

Wills

Kansas allows any adult of sound mind to make a will to describe how he wishes to have his property distributed after his death. To be effective, your will must follow Kansas requirements, such as having two qualified witnesses present during the signing of the will. You can also change or revoke your will at any time prior to death. Since your will must be formally submitted to the probate court within six months after your death, it is important to let others know where you store your will.

Intestate Succession

If you die without a valid will, Kansas law provides a method called intestate succession to distribute your property among your relatives. For example, if you die while married but have no children, your entire estate will pass to your spouse. If you die with a spouse and a child, half of your estate will go to your spouse and the other half to your child.

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Executor/Administrator

In Kansas, if you have a will, the person who administers your estate is called an executor; if you don’t have a will, this person is known as an administrator. Your executor or administrator will be charged with many tasks to close and distribute your estate, including notifying your heirs and creditors about the probate proceedings, paying your taxes and other debts out of your estate’s assets, and properly distributing the estate.

Non-Residents

If you are not a resident of Kansas but have property located in the state, a Kansas court will exercise probate jurisdiction over that property when you die. This means your executor or administrator will have to follow Kansas probate procedures to distribute the parts of your estate located in Kansas. For example, if you own a vacation property in Kansas but live in Missouri, both states will have some control over your estate since they each have jurisdiction over the property located within their boundaries. However, you do not have to have a will for each state since Kansas will honor a will created in another state as long as it complies with the other state’s laws, is in writing and signed.

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References

Related articles

How to Make Your Own Will Forms

A will is a document that tells a probate court how to distribute the assets of the person who wrote the will -- known as the testator -- after he dies. A will must be prepared in accordance with state law or it will not be enforced. The laws of the various states differ somewhat on what is required to create a valid will. If your will is declared invalid, your property will be distributed among your relatives in accordance with the state intestacy law.

Blood Relatives & Wills

If you make a will, you can leave property to your blood relatives -- your children, grandchildren, parents, siblings and other biological relatives -- or you can exclude them from your will. If you die without leaving a will, a state probate court will divide your property between your spouse, if you are married, and some of your blood relatives. If you leave a will that is unclear, doesn't follow your state's requirements for a valid will, or contains odd provisions that suggest you are not mentally competent, your blood relatives can challenge the will.

How to Write a Will and Assign a Legal Guardian in California

California wills are governed by the California Probate Code. California law imposes restrictions on the format of a valid will, and a probate court will discard it if these requirements are not met. Although you may nominate a guardian for your minor children, the probate court may refuse to appoint your nominee if it determines that the appointment would not be in the best interests of the child.

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