A Last Will and Testament is a legal document that communicates a person’s final wishes pertaining to assets and dependents at the time of their death. A person’s Last Will and Testament outlines who will receive your residuary estate. It also outlines who is in charge of the administration of your estate (executor). In addition, it can contain provisions for guardians of your minor children. However, unlike a Revocable or Irrevocable Trust, a Last Will and Testament does not bypass Probate Court. At the time of your passing, your named Executor will present your original Last Will and Testament to the Probate Court. The Last Will and Testament has no power or authority until it has been validated by the Probate Court. Once probate begins, the estate must remain open for a minimum of six months under Kentucky law before any distributions to heirs can take place. This period of time is required in order to allow anyone who may be a creditor to file a proof of claim against the estate. All assets in the deceased individual’s sole name will be part of the probate. Without a Last Will and Testament, at the time of your death your estate will be distributed in accordance with the Kentucky intestate succession laws.
A Durable Power of Attorney is a legal document in which you name an individual or entity to act as your agent and attorney in fact on your behalf should you be unable to do so in the future. A Durable Power of Attorney is not affected in any manner whatsoever by reason of future illness, disability or physical or mental incapacity of any kind or nature and carries on until your death. A Durable Power of Attorney provides for your agent and attorney in fact to act on your behalf in the following areas:
A Living Will is a legal document in which you have the opportunity to state your wishes regarding life-prolonging treatment and artificially provided nutrition and hydration if or when you no longer have decisional capacity, have a terminal condition, and become permanently unconscious with no hope of recovery as determined by your attending physician and one other physician. A Living Will only takes effect when you are terminally ill and/or in an irreversible state. It becomes your voice in decision making when it comes to your medical care. You can direct that treatment be withheld or withdrawn and that you be allowed to die naturally with only the administration of medication for the relief of pain or the performance of any medical treatment deemed necessary to alleviate pain once you have reached a terminal or irreversible condition. This condition must be determined by your regular treating physician and one other physician. You can direct the withholding or withdrawal of artificially provided food, water or other artificially provided nourishments or fluids if you so desire. The directives you set forth in the Living Will are carried out by a Healthcare Surrogate.