Kentucky Legislature Increases Surviving Spouse/Child Probate Exemption

By Donald M. Wakefield

During the 2020 Regular Session, the Kentucky General Assembly passed House Bill 307, which was signed into law on March 17, 2020 and will take effect on July 15, 2020.  HB 307 expands the surviving spouse’s exemption from $15,000 to $30,000.  If a decedent has no surviving spouse, then this exemption goes to any surviving children.  Under this exemption, a district court may now set aside up to $30,000 of the decedent’s personal property or money on hand or in a bank as exempt from distribution or sale, meaning that these proceeds are payable directly to the decedent’s surviving spouse or children. This also expands those cases where courts may allow parties to “dispense” with administration, i.e., where the decedent left no personal property in excess of the exemption.

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