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This content was last updated on 2/13/2024

Common Questions About Wills

What is a will?

A will is a document that says how you want your property given away after you die. The people you leave your things to are called your heirs. In your will, you name someone to make sure your wishes are carried out. That person is called the Executor. This is an important job. Check with the person you want as Executor to make sure that they want to do it.

What happens if I die without a will?

If you die without a will, the law says how your property is divided. Here are some examples of how your property is given away if you don’t have a will. NOTE:  Each personal situation can be different.

Married with no children

If you are married and don’t have children when you die, your spouse gets all your property after all bills and expenses are paid. BUT, if at least one of your parents is alive when you die, your spouse gets ½ and your parents share the other ½.

Married with Children

If you are married and have children when you die, your spouse gets ½ of your property and your children share the other ½.

Unmarried with No Children

If you are not married and don’t have any children when you die, your parents get all your property. If your parents are not living, then your property goes to your brothers and sisters. If they are not living, then your property goes to your nieces and nephews.

Unmarried with Children

If you are not married but you have children when you die, your children and/or grandchildren get all your property.

Do I need to have a will?

If you don’t want Kentucky law to decide how your property is divided, you need to make a will.

You should make a will if you:

  • want to leave property to someone who is not a family member;
  • want to give certain things to certain people;
  • want to name a guardian of a minor child; or
  • have specific things with sentimental value and you want them to go to a certain person
What are the rules about making a will?
  • You have to be at least 18 years old and be of sound mind.
  • You have to write the will and sign it OR have it signed by someone else you gave permission to. But that person to sign it in front of you.
  • If you don’t write the will yourself, 2 witnesses have to sign the will in front of you after you sign it.
How do I change my will?

You can change your will any time before your death by writing a new will, called a “codicil.” A codicil adds or changes something in your original will. Write down what you want to add or remove from your existing will, sign it, have 2 witnesses sign it and then keep it with your original will. After your death, those documents are read and interpreted together.

What happens to my will if I get divorced?

In Kentucky, if you get divorced or your marriage is annulled, the law says that your ex-spouse is no longer entitled to get your property. Also, your ex-spouse can’t be the executor or serve as guardian unless you specifically say you want that to happen.


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