HOBBIES ARE GOOD FOR YOUR HEALTH

Do you have a hobby? Hobbies can give meaning and purpose to your life in retirement. As Robert Putnam points out in his book, Bowling Alone, it’s easy to discount the importance of hobbies and social engagements. Putnam details the widespread decline in civic engagement, from PTA memberships to neighborhood potlucks and bowling leagues. Over a couple of generations, Americans have misplaced the concept of free time.

SPECIAL PLANS FOR YOUR SPECIAL PEOPLE

Lily is a beautiful, active and full of personality toddler who happens to have Down syndrome. Lily’s parents and I have been friends for years and I have the continuing pleasure of watching Lily and her siblings grow up. While Lily is becoming a physical therapy rock star and hitting all her milestones in a timely fashion, her parents have started planning for the future.

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WHY WE ENJOY OUR HOBBIES

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines a hobby as “a pursuit outside one’s regular occupation, engaged in especially for relaxation.” Hobbies include anything from playing a musical instrument to gardening, bird watching or sewing. A hobby is a way of focusing on something you enjoy just for the sake of that enjoyment. It may also be a way to clear your mental palette. You could be stressed out by a situation at work or the challenges of raising children and need an escape.

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Settling the estate:

Once the debts and taxes owed by the estate have been paid, the remaining assets can be transferred to the heirs. The Personal Representative is required to submit a final settlement to the District Court.  The final settlement cannot be filed until at least six months from the date the Personal Representative was appointed. If settling the estate takes longer than two years, the Personal Representative will be required to submit a periodic settlement to the District Court.


Formal Settlement:

A formal settlement in Kentucky requires a detailed record of all receipts and distributions along with canceled checks.  It must account for all distributions to heirs, the compensation paid to the Personal Representative, and the fees paid to the attorney.  This can be cumbersome and impractical in more complex estates.


Informal Settlement:

An informal settlement in Kentucky requires each heir to sign a notarized waiver stating they received their share of the estate and they waive the requirements of the formal settlement.  The informal settlement also requires proof of distribution of any specific bequests as well as the attorney fees paid by the estate.


Avoiding Probate:


There are several different ways to make sure property avoids the probate process and passes directly to the desired heirs: Revocable Living Trusts, Pay-on-Death Accounts, and Joint Ownership of Property.  The best option or options heavily depends on your personal situation, your goals, and your family dynamic.  It is a good idea to consult with an Estate Planning or Elder Law Attorney who can discuss your situation as well as your wishes to develop the best individualized plan for you and your family.  

PROBATE BASICS

How: If you choose not to retain an Attorney to assist you with the probate process, Kentucky has a guide to basic probate procedures and the necessary legal forms available in the court clerk’s office as well as online.  The clerk’s office will provide materials, however, they are unable to give legal advice.


Duties of the Personal Representative:


Administering the Estate:

Within 60 days of being appointed, the Personal Representative must file an inventory of the estate’s assets with the District Court.  It is up to the Personal Representative to determine what assets belong in the probate estate and what assets will pass outside of the probate estate.


Creditors:

Under the law, certain creditor claims are “preferred”. These include funeral expenses, taxes, and other debts given preference under Kentucky or Federal law. Anyone who can provide proof of payment of a preferred claim can petition the judge to transfer part of the estate to them as a “preferred creditor” up to the amount of the paid claim.  

KATIE E. FINNELL

Katie received her J.D. from Northern Kentucky University,  a Legal Masters (LL.M.) in Estate Planning and ElderLaw from Western New England University and joined Bluegrass ElderLaw after several years as a sole practitioner.

more articles by katie e. finnell

What: Probate is the legal process of transferring ownership of property from the decedent to his or her heirs either by accepting the validity of their last will and testament or by following the Kentucky laws of intestacy.  For a will to be valid, it must be “self-proven” or proven as valid in court by at least one of the witnesses.  A valid will can also be holographic: written entirely in the handwriting of the decedent, signed, and dated.


Where: The probate process in Kentucky is handled by the District Court in the county where the person resided. If the decedent owned real estate interests in another state, an ancillary probate will likely need to be opened in that state as well in order to transfer the real estate.


When: A petition for probate can immediately be filed after a person’s death, however, the death certificate will be necessary to make financial transactions within the probate estate and to interact with most financial institutions and government entities.


Who: Any interested person can file a probate petition. If there is a valid will, the court will appoint the person listed as the Personal Representative.  If there is not a will, the court will appoint whomever it deems best suited and situated to perform the duties of the Personal Representative.