Kentucky Property Laws and Right of Survivorship

When property is purchased, a deed is used to complete and document the transaction. The deed must list the names of the sellers, grantors, buyers and grantees. After the transaction is complete, the deed is filed on public record. The buyers will be added to the property's title. Buyers can assume title in a certain manner known as vesting. Commonly, a vesting will include rights of survivorship.

Function

Different types of vesting dictate how the property is owned and what will happen to the property if an owner passes away. Common forms of vesting are joint tenants, tenants in common, and sole and separate. Married couples generally choose to be joint tenants with rights of survivorship. This vesting means that the property is jointly owned equally, and if one owner dies, the other owner will be transferred the deceased's share. Kentucky home buyer's should consult with a real estate or probate attorney for advice on the best way to take title before purchasing the property.

Probate

Kentucky probate law determines how an individual's estate will be divided and distributed upon his death. Probate is generally not necessary when a trust exists. Additionally, if the deceased's total estate is worth less than $15,000, probate court is not necessary. In Kentucky, the process of probate begins by filing a petition with the court. After the court reviews the petition, the deceased's representative must take inventory of the estate and present it to the court. The court will audit the inventory and then issue a ruling to close the estate with a final settlement. Although this process isn't generally costly, it can be time-consuming.

Rights of Survivorship

Implementing rights of survivorship onto the property title is one way to avoid probate court. The vesting will automatically transfer the deceased's owners interest in the property to the remaining owner. Right of survivorship take precedence over probate laws and a will in Kentucky. This term also can be used on assets other than real property or land, such as bank accounts. If you or the other property owner wish to distribute the ownership to someone else upon death, rights of survivorship should not be used.

Considerations

If there is no trust established for an estate, a will can be used. The will must be submitted to the probate court at the time the petition is filed. Wills in Kentucky must be signed by the decedent and two witnesses. It also must be acknowledged by a notary public. The probate court will adhere to the will with the exception of parts of the estate that are will substitutes, such as rights of survivorship.

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