How Probate Laws Work in Kansas

If you recently lost a family member, you may be in the midst of determining what will become of their property. This can be a time-consuming process, which may need to go through court to have the estate settled.

Probate is a legal process where the court gets involved. The court must determine if the will is valid or how the estate is to be distributed according to state law. It’s important to know a few basic things about probate if you are an heir or personal representative of an estate.

Is Probate Required in Kansas?

In many cases, probate is necessary for the distribution of an estate. However, you may not be required to go through the formal process. If the estate meets the requirements, it may qualify as a simplified estate. The estate must be valued at no more than $25,000 and only contains personal property.

How Do You Avoid Probate in Kansas?

It is possible to avoid going through probate in Kansas if you plan ahead. If the asset is listed with more than one owner, known as joint tenants, it automatically goes to the surviving owners without going through probate. If the asset has a listed beneficiary, they will receive it once they provide a death certificate to the institution holding the asset. An example is with life insurance policies or retirement accounts. The only assets that must be probated are those owned solely by the deceased person.

If you place the assets of an estate in a living trust, it automatically goes to the beneficiary with no need for probate. Only the assets in the trust are exempt from probate. If the deceased person had any assets other than those in the trust, they may still need to be probated before transfer.

Can an Executor of an Estate in Kansas be Compensated?

According to Chapter 59-1504 in the Kansas Statutes, the executor or administrator is entitled to compensation. This section provides guidelines for the executor who is listed in the will as well as for those who were appointed or if there was no will.

How Much Does an Executor in Kansas Get Paid?

Kansas statutes don’t provide a dollar amount or percentage of the estate that may be given as payment to the executor or administrator. However, it does address the issue of compensation. If the will stipulates an amount to pay the executor, that amount is to be considered the total sum of payment the person receives. They do have the right to renounce that payment, which would be recognized by the court. The statute also states that the person should receive payment out of the estate for all their expenses in handling the estate. If the will doesn’t provide for compensation of the executor, the court is given discretion to make that decision, which should be reasonable, along with any necessary expenses. In most cases, the court will make a determination of amount based on other similar estates. They also have the ability to accept or deny any expenses based on whether they are necessary.

How Long Does Probate Take in Kansas?

The timeline for probate in Kansas can vary from a few months to more than a year. If the will is contested or other issues arise with the estate, probate can drag on for years. Since creditors have up to four months to file a claim with the estate, that is the minimal amount of time it can take.

Do All Estates Have to Go Through Probate in Kansas?

Not all estates will need to go through probate if there is already a named beneficiary or if the estate was in a living trust. For example, if the only assets owned by the deceased person were bank accounts that were payable to a beneficiary, there would be no need for probate. However, most estates will need to go through probate because it is likely they will be a mix of probated assets and non-probated assets.

Does a Will Have to Be Probated in Kansas?

Yes, a will must be presented to the court to verify its validity. Even if the estate doesn’t need to go through probate, the will should be filed in case property is later found belonging to the decedent.

Settling an Estate in Kansas

Probate in Kansas is much the same as in other states. However, there may be differences in deadlines and other aspects that you need to be aware of.

How Long Do You Have to File Probate After a Death in Kansas?

A will must be filed with the court within six months of the person’s death. Otherwise, it may be deemed to be invalid. It is usually at the same time that probate is filed.

Probate Court in Kansas

The court that handles probate is the district court where the deceased person lived prior to their death or where their property was held. You can find out which district court you should use to file probate by visiting the US District Court of Kansas website:

Probate Code in Kansas

Kansas has its own statutes for probate in the Kansas Code, which is in Chapter 59. It lists all the requirements and obligations as well as the process. You can find it on the Kansas legislature website: