A man and a woman signing estate planning documents.

Wills & Probate: Everything You Need to Know

Planning for the future is extremely important, and wills are exceptionally useful tools in any estate plan. Our Kentucky estate planning team outlines the advantages of wills and guide to probate below.


Wills, alternatively known as a “last will and testament”, are planning documents that allow you to outline what happens to your assets go when you pass away. Once properly established, you are able to designate who receives your property and appoint an executor to carry out the terms set within the will. Properly formalized wills allow you to do the following:

  • Name beneficiaries to assets and property
  • Name a personal representative to manage and carry out the terms of the will
  • Name a legal guardian to minor children

When formulating a will, there are no limitations on who is able to receive your property, and you can choose as many or as few individuals as you wish to include in the document.


The first step taken after someone passes away is to locate and assess their last will and testament. Once the will is found, a petition will be filed with the District Court to begin the probate process. Typically, a decedent will appoint an executor to represent and manage them to carry out their final wishes.

Once the will is verified to be legitimate, and heirs of the deceased are contacted, the appointed executor must then perform a complete inventory of all assets named in the will. Executors are usually given 60 days to complete the inventory and must be approved by the court.

It is then the executor’s job to pay off any outstanding debts or obligations on the behalf of the deceased. These debts must be paid off before any distribution of assets occurs, and property outlined in the will is able to be used to pay them. This is why consulting experienced legal guidance while building your estate plan is key.

No matter your age, planning for the future is extremely important, and establishing a proper estate plan can help ensure the best interests of both you and your loved ones are upheld. If you would like to learn more about how Musselwhite Meinhart & Staples can help you, get in touch with us today through our website or give us a call at (270) 200-6326 to schedule your free consultation.