When a person dies, real and personal property may pass by title, under the terms of the will, or by the laws of Kentucky. Survivorship property and property payable on death passes to the surviving co-owner shown on the deed or instrument, unless a disclaimer was filed, and not by the terms of the will or by the laws of intestate succession.
When a person dies with a will, distribution of the estate is made according to the will, unless the will is renounced by the surviving spouse or a disclaimer is filed. If the will is renounced, the surviving spouse receives one-third of the real property and one-half of surplus property.
The law provides that when a person dies without a will, one half of the estate, after funeral expenses, debts, and cost of administration are paid, goes to the surviving spouse and one-half descends as follows (if there is no surviving spouse, the whole estate descends):
- to his children and their descendants (descendants take the share of their deceased parents); if there are none,
- to his father and mother; if one is deceased, to the survivor; if there is no father or mother,
- to his brothers and sisters and their descendants; (half-brothers and half-sisters and their descendants inherit only one- half as much as those of the whole blood); if none,
- to the husband or wife of the intestate; if none,
- one share shall pass to the paternal and the other to the maternal kindred in the following order:
- the grandfather and grandmother equally, if one is deceased, it shall go to the survivor; if both are deceased,
- to the uncles and aunts and their descendants; if there are none,
- to the great-grandfathers and great-grandmothers; if none,
- to the brothers and sisters of the grandfathers and grandmothers; and
- if there is no kindred to one of the parents as described in (5), the whole descends to the kindred of the other. If there are neither paternal nor maternal kindred, the whole descends to the kindred of the spouse.