Last Will & Testament in Kentucky

By Holly Cameron

By writing a last will and testament, an individual sets out his wishes for disposing of his property and estate after his death. He may also stipulate his instructions for the guardianship of any minor children. Chapter 394 of the Kentucky revised statutes contains the law regarding wills in the state. If a person dies without leaving a will, he is said to be intestate and the Kentucky laws apply to the distribution of the estate.

Requirements for a Valid Will

The writer of a will – known as the testator – must be over the age of 18 and of sound mind when he signs his will. According to Chapter 394.040 of the Kentucky revised statutes, a will is valid if it is in writing and signed by the testator, or by another person under his direction. At least two witnesses must also sign the will in the presence of the testator. Both witnesses should sign at the same time. A handwritten, or holographic, will is valid if written in the testator's own handwriting and signed by him.

Revoking a Will

A will, once written, does not expire. Chapter 394.040 states that a subsequent will has the effect of revoking any prior wills. A testator can also revoke his will by some other writing where he declares that he intends to revoke the existing will. Such other writing must be signed and witnessed with the same formalities as the original will. The testator may also revoke the will by cutting, tearing, burning, obliterating, canceling, or destroying either the complete document, or his signature, provided it is clear that it is his intention to revoke the will.

Divorce is never easy, but we can help. Learn More

Consequences of Marriage and Divorce

In some states, both marriage and divorce can revoke or change a will. Chapter 394.090 of the Kentucky revised statutes specifically states that a will is not revoked by the marriage of the writer. According to Chapter 394.020, if a testator divorces after he has written his will, any bequest or legacy to his former spouse is revoked. Similarly, if the testator has appointed his ex-spouse as executor, trustee or guardian, this provision will be revoked. Any instructions in the will that have been revoked by divorce are revived if the testator re-marries his former spouse.

Executor or Personal Representative

A testator usually appoints someone in his will to act as his executor or personal representative. The personal representative is responsible for gathering in the assets and closing bank accounts. Once the gathering in is completed, the personal representative then distributes the property according to the testator's wishes. In Kentucky, anyone may act as personal representative if he is over 18.

Divorce is never easy, but we can help. Learn More
Ohio Laws on Wills


Related articles

Legal Spousal Inheritance Rights in the State of Kansas

The property in a person's estate is passed to his beneficiaries when he dies. Many people prepare for this by making a will naming the people who will receive their property. A surviving spouse is almost always a beneficiary. However, if a spouse is disinherited, Kansas law provides a remedy that permits the spouse to still inherit from the estate. Additionally, if a person died without a will, a surviving spouse inherits through Kansas' "intestate succession" laws.

Maryland State Law & Code on Wills

A will is a written document that sets out the wishes of the writer -- known as the testator -- in the event of his death. In Maryland, the state law on wills is contained in Title 4 of the Estates and Trusts Chapter of the Maryland Code. If a person dies without making a will, he is said to be “intestate” and state laws will determine how his estate is distributed.

Does Marriage Invalidate a Will?

Historically, common law held that marriage invalidated a previously made will. However, today, if a party fails to revise a will after marriage, the effects vary based on individual state laws. The results of marriage on a prior will range from no effect at all to a partial or complete disruption to a will's terms.

Get Divorced Online

Related articles

Mississippi Law Regarding a Last Will & Testament

The testator, or writer of a will, provides for the distribution of his property after his death in the form of a last ...

Illinois Last Will & Testament Requirements

Making a will is essential if you want to ensure that your property is distributed according to your wishes after you ...

State of Maine Laws Regarding Last Will & Testament

A last will and testament sets out the wishes of its writer regarding the arrangement of his property after his death. ...

Can I Renew My Husband's Passport for Him With a Power of Attorney?

As an agent appointed under your husband's power of attorney, you have authority to make either medical or financial ...

Browse by category
Ready to Begin? GET STARTED