Kentucky: Every Legal, Medical, and Estate Planning Document You Need

Here's a complete guide to every critical medical, legal, and estate planning document and relevant state law for Kentucky. Download these forms and get started with Pillar to organize all of your most important documents in one safe, secure, easy-to-use online storage solution

February 2, 2021

If you or a loved one lives in Kentucky, there are a number of important forms, documents, resources, and specific state laws you should be aware of. Whether you’re handling a guardianship of an elderly person, or just want to know how probate court or inheritance law works, continue reading for some of the more important documents and laws you should know about for the state of Kentucky.

Essential Kentucky Medical State Laws & Forms

How to Get Your Medical Records in Kentucky

Kentucky law lists the following standards as law related to the retention of medical records: 

  • Doctors: Must retain medical records for five years after their patient’s last treatment or death. For minors, the requirement is for three years after they reach adulthood.
  • Hospitals: Must keep medical records for five years after the date of the last discharge of the patient, or three years beyond the date the minor patient reaches adulthood.

In Kentucky, you have a right to access and view your medical records. You also have a right to request an amendment and add information to your medical records. After you submit an amendment, a provider has 60 days to respond. Depending on the nature of the medical records, certain information may not be eligible for amendment.

Medical providers cannot charge more than $1 per page when requesting medical records. This fee only applies to a second copy that is being requested, The first copy of medical records is free.

Kentucky Advance Directive Forms & Laws

How to Create a Living Will in Kentucky

In Kentucky you are able to fill out a packet for a living will that is issued by the Attorney General’s office. The packet also includes information for a healthcare surrogate, which is equivalent to a medical power of attorney. The living will also requires signing in front of two witnesses or a notary.

Do Not Resuscitate Order (DNR)

DNRs are allowed in Kentucky per Kentucky statutes 311.623. It is the full responsibility of the patient or their healthcare surrogate to request a DNR order. The patient must sign the form in front of two witnesses or a notary public. The patient will receive a DNR bracelet.

You can download a standard DNR form here.

Durable Medical Power of Attorney (POA)

A health care surrogate can be designated in Kentucky to make important medical decisions for you. This statute spells out the powers of a health surrogate in Kentucky.

How to Become an Organ Donor in Kentucky

You can register to become an organ donor at Donate Life, Kentucky.

Essential Kentucky Legal & Estate Planning Documents & Forms

Trusts Laws in Kentucky

For estates under $15,000, probate is not required unless there is real property involved. Additionally, a small estate affidavit may be filed to avoid probate court. A person may also have a revocable living trust which allows them to bypass probate.

If the probate process does occur for a decedent’s estate, there may be either a formal or informal settlement. An informal settlement occurs when there are only possible minor inheritance issues. Formal settlements are complex and expensive, they occur when significant inheritance issues arise.

Learn more about how to set up a trust fund

Kentucky Probate Laws

If you die without a will, your estate will be transferred to your closest relatives under Kentucky’s intestate succession laws. In Kentucky, this applies only to assets that would have otherwise been in a will.

Kentucky probate filing fees vary from county to county. Check with your county clerk to discover the filing fee.

Kentucky Digital Estate Planning Laws

Kentucky does not have legislation pertaining to digital estates. If you wish to include the property in digital estates in your will, contact your attorney.

How to Get a Death Certificate in Kentucky

Death certificates can be acquired from this Kentucky government website. The State of Kentucky has death records on file going back to 1911. A person may file a request to perform genealogical research on death certificates. Kentucky law requires you to present the death certificate to the medical provider in charge of the decedent’s care within five days of their death.

The cost to acquire a death certificate in Kentucky is $6.

Does Kentucky Have an Estate & Inheritance Tax?

Kentucky does not have an estate tax, but Kentucky does have an inheritance tax or a gift tax, There are three classes of relationships that beneficiaries are categorized in. The categories are titled Class A, Class B, and Class C.

  • Class A: Includes close blood relatives such as spouses, parents, children, stepchildren, grandchildren, siblings, and half siblings. This class is exempt from inheritance tax.
  • Class B: Includes nephews, nieces, half-nephews, half-nieces, children-in-law, aunts, uncles and great-grandchildren. This class is eligible for an exemption of up to $500. After the $500 they are taxed at ascending levels between 4% and 16%.
  • Class C: Includes other relations and associations. This class has a $500 exemption and is taxed at ascending levels between 6% and 16%.

Review this booklet for additional information on the inheritance tax, including a table that provides more detail on the ascending tax levels. The State of Kentucky has published this tax booklet to help you with your inheritance tax forms.

Be aware that you are still responsible for federal taxes on an inheritance.

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