Do Kentuckians need a living or revocable trust?

Written by Jim Worthington on April 27, 2017

If you:

  • don’t have kids under 18 or other special needs beneficiaries,
  • don’t own property in more than one state, and
  • don’t have a particular reason to keep your will private,

you don’t need a living or revocable trust.

This advice may be different than what you’ve read elsewhere on the internet. And, you should make the final decision after talking with a lawyer about your unique situation. But, this post will give you a leg up on being an informed client. One more caution: this article is for Kentucky residents; if you’re not from here, this post may not apply to you so read it with this caution in mind.

Straightforward estates can be completed in as little as eight months after someone passes. In many counties, including Jefferson, the personal representative of the estate may never have to go to court but can appoint the lawyer to do that. Kentucky doesn’t charge a court fee based on the size of the estate and the courts oversee attorneys’ fees to make sure they’re reasonable. There are states where probate is a real hassle, but Kentucky is not one.


One advantage to living trusts is that they are not typically public documents, but wills are. So, if you have a special needs or addicted child for whom you’re making special arrangements, a living trust may be a good idea.  Or, if you have a family business or some other special asset, it may make sense to have a trust to which you transfer it during your lifetime. That should keep its value from being shown in the publicly available probate file.

Multiple States

If you own property in another state, it may be good to have a trust to which you transfer that property. This should keep your family from having to go through probate in both states.

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But, if all of the bullet points above apply, be careful before taking advice from your California cousin or the lawyer with the richly-appointed offices who tells you that no estate plan is complete without a living or revocable trust. Think of it as one more reason to be thankful you live in Kentucky.

Happy Derby!