Johnson Law, P.A.
Probate is a legal proceeding in which a deceased person’s property is distributed to the decedent’s heirs or devisees and legatees named in a Last Will and Testament or by intestate succession. The beneficiaries of the estate may be designated by the decedent in a Will, and if there is not any Will, then the heirs at law are designated by State Statue. Probate proceedings are governed by the law of the State where the decedent maintained legal residence at the time of death as well as by the probate laws of any other State where the decedent owned property at the time of death.
Fred A. Johnson with the law office of Johnson Law, P.A. has handled legal issues surrounding probate, will construction, will contests, intestate succession, and estates for over Forty years. When a loved one passes away, the probate process by which assets, real property, and personal property is legally transferred can be very complex and confusing. With over 40 years of experience dealing with these complicated issues, Fred A. Johnson can assist the beneficiaries of an Estate with these issues.
Fred A. Johnson has been practicing law since 1975 with over forty years of experience. The firm is a small, casual, and personable law firm. We are accessible to our clients, and our clients receive a personal approach to the attorney-client relationship instead of being referred to an unknown attorney or paralegal, as may occur in many large firms.
Some of our estate planning and administration services include:
Intestate Succession - Will Construction - Estate Administration - Joint Tenancies - Will Contests - Marshaling Debts and Assets - Non-Probate Transfers - Living Wills (Advance Directives) - Durable Powers of Attorney
Not all Estates need to be probated. The need for Probate is determined by the type of property the decedent owned at the time of death and how it was held as well as the value of the property itself. Small estates with a value under $40,000.00 not involving an interest in real property can be transferred by Affidavit. Probate is not necessary for assets held as joint tenants with rights of survivorship or those assets that may have pay on death or transfer on death clauses.
WHAT IS KANSAS PROBATE?
Kansas Probate is a Court supervised process for identifying and marshaling the decedent’s assets, paying claims and expenses, paying taxes if any are due, and ultimate distribution os assets to the beneficiaries.
There are numerous Kansas Probate proceedings, which include: Supervised testate and intestate administration; Simplified testate and intestate administration; Informal Administration; and Descent and Distribution proceeding.
Supervised and Simplified administration are the primary methods used to probate estates in Kansas. If the value of the decedent’s estate is over $40,000.00 and/or real estate interests are involved, a probate proceeding will be necessary to administer the assets of the decedent. A personal representative is appointed, who may or may not be bonded, by the Court based on who is named in the Last Will and Testament admitted to probate or based on the order of priority as set for in the Kansas intestacy laws. The personal representative need not be a Kansas resident, but would have additional requirements in order to serve.
A Notice to Creditors must be published with a publication circulating in the county of the decedent once a week for three consecutive weeks which notifies the creditors that they must exhibit their demand within four months from the date of first publication. This same publication may also be used for giving notice to the heirs, devisees, and legatees of the commencement of the probate proceeding.
The personal representative gathers and collects all the assets of the decedents estate. These assets may or may not be sold by the personal representative. Any claims which have been approved would be paid in the priority set by the Kansas probate code. There are four classes of claims, the first class being appropriate funeral expenses and then claims for medical assistance paid under subsection (e) of K.S.A. 39-709, the second class includes the appropriate and necessary costs and expenses of administration, and the reasonable sums for the appropriate and necessary expenses of the last sickness of decedent, including wages of servants; the third class includes judgments rendered against decedent and all judgment liens upon the property of the decedent; with the fourth class being all other demands duly approved, including the cost of any appropriate tombstone or marker. Any tax returns due, and tax obligations, must also be completed and paid.
SHOULD AN ATTORNEY BE USED FOR KANSAS PROBATE ADMINISTRATION?
Because of the complicated nature of a probate proceeding and because an individual does not commence a large number of probate proceedings, a Kansas Probate proceeding would almost always require the services of an attorney.
WHAT IS A LAST WILL AND TESTAMENT?
A Last Will and Testament (a Will) is a writing, by a person who possesses the rights of majority and who is of sound mind. It is signed at the end thereof by the person making same, or by some other person in the presence of such person and by the express direction of the said person, and shall be attested and subscribed (witnessed) in the presence of such person by two or more competent witnesses. The Will may be self-proved by having a statement attached or annexed to the Will and notarized. A Will generally designates and appoints the personal representative, the individuals who will be the beneficiaries of the probate assets, and may establish a trust, name a conservator for minor children, name a guardian for minor children, etc.. A Will must be probated to be valid, and a Will must be probated within six months from the date of death of decedent. The provisions of a Will, presented for probate, are a matter of public record and may be viewed by the general public.
WHO INHERITS IF THERE IS NO WILL?
Kansas law for a decedent dying intestate (without a Will) varies depending on who survives the decedent. (Subject to Statutory Allowances)
a. If the decedent leaves a spouse and no children nor issue of a previously deceased child, all of the decedent’s property shall pass to the surviving spouse.
b. If the decedent leaves a spouse and a child, or children, or issue of a previously deceased child or children, one-half shall pass to the surviving spouse and one- half shall pass to said child, or children, or issue of a previously deceased child or children in equal shares. The living issue of a deceased child shall collectively take only the share their parent would have taken had such parent been living.
c. If there is no spouse, but a child, or children or issue of a previously deceased child or children, then all of the decedent’s property shall pass to the surviving child, or children, or issue of a previously deceased child or children. Again, the living issue of a deceased child shall collectively take only the share their parent would have taken had such parent been living.
d. If the decedent leaves no surviving spouse, child, or issue, but leaves a surviving parent or surviving parents, the decedent’s assets will pass to such surviving parent, or in equal shares to such surviving parents. Special provisions apply to decedents who have been adopted.
e. If the decedent leaves no surviving spouse, child, issue, or parents, the respective shares of the decedent which would have passed to the parents, had both of them been living, shall pass to the heirs of such parents respectively (excluding their respective spouses), the same as it would have passed had such parents owned it in equal shares and died intestate at the time of his or her death; but it either of said parents left no such heirs, then and in that event, his or her property shall pass to the living heirs of the other parent.
We serve our clients statewide; however, we practice mainly in Wichita, Sedgwick County, Kansas, and the surrounding counties of Butler, Harvey, Reno, Sumner, Cowley, and Kingman. However, Mr. Johnson has and does file probate proceedings throughout the State of Kansas.
In addition to representing clients in probate proceedings, Mr. Johnson also prepares Last Will & Testaments, Living Wills, Power of Attorney for financial purposes, health care purposes, and for other needs. If you would like to speak to Mr. Johnson regarding your specific circumstances, please contact Mr. Johnson as set forth below:
Fred A. Johnson
Johnson Law, P.A. 359 South Hydraulic
Wichita, Kansas 67211
Phone: (316) 263-5661
Fax: (316) 263-2714