Kentucky Estate Planning Considerations

Common-Law State

Kentucky is a Common Law State, which means the rules governing the ownership, division, and inheritance of income and property acquired by a husband or wife during their marriage hold that subject to various qualifications, each spouse owns and has complete control over their or her income and property.

Last Will and Testament

Will Creation

The minimum age of a person competent to make a will is 18 (but a minor may appoint a guardian for his child by will or under a power of appointment). The number of witnesses necessary to execute a will is two.

Uniform Transfers to Minors Act (UTMA)

The original custodial gift may be a life insurance policy or annuity contract.

Custodial property may be invested in or used to pay premiums on (1) a policy on the minor’s life if the minor’s estate is the sole beneficiary, or (2) a policy on a third party in whom the child has an insurable interest if the minor or the custodian is the irrevocable beneficiary.

  • The custodial arrangement terminates when:
  • The minor child reaches age 18, or
  • The minor child dies.

Dying without a Last Will, the Kentucky laws of Intestacy

The estate goes to the surviving spouse, but only as follows:

  • If no surviving children, descendants, parents, or siblings, —100% of the estate

If there are surviving children, those children and their descendants take:

  • 100% of the estate

If there are no surviving children or descendants:

  • 100% to surviving parent or parents equally (although special rules apply concerning real estate acquired from a parent—see KRS §391.020)

If there are no surviving children, descendants, or parents:

  • 100% of the estate goes to siblings and their descendants. When any or all of a class first entitled to inherit are dead, leaving descendants, descendants take per stirpes. See KRS §391.040.

If none of the above:

  • Intestacy laws outline further distribution steps to the level of grandparents, kindred, and descendants. See KRS §391.010(5), (6).
  • If no legally described recipient can be found, estate assets go to the commonwealth of Kentucky.

Digital Assets

Kentucky follows the Uniform Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act to ensure that testators can retain control of their digital property and plan for its ultimate disposition.


Inheritance Tax

Kentucky does not impose an inheritance tax.

Credit Estate Tax

Kentucky does not impose an estate tax.

Generation-Skipping Transfer Tax (GST Tax)

Kentucky does not impose a GST tax.

Gift Tax

Kentucky does not impose a gift tax.

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