Contested Wills in Anchorage, Alaska
In Anchorage, Alaska, there is a procedure through which a person can challenge the validity of a will. This is recognized as a "contested will" or "will contest."
A will is normally contested when a family member who expected to inherit a large amount of money or property are disappointed with the contents of the will, especially if the testator's motives are not clear. They will often assume that the will must be a forgery, or a result of fraud or force.
If a massive amount of money is involved, someone who was left out of a will, or not given what they were expecting, might believe that contesting the will is worth the time, money, and energy that doing so would require.
However, this is a matter that should not be approached lightly - will contests can commonly foster strife and infighting within families who are already mourning the loss of a loved one. This can permanently damage or alter family relationships.
When Can a Will be Contested in Anchorage, Alaska?
There are many reasons that a Anchorage, Alaska court might hold a will to be invalid.
One big reason to invalidate a will is the fact that the will was made under duress. "Duress" simply means forcing somebody to do something they don't want to, using some kind of threat. Normally, the threat involves some type of physical harm. The most obvious example would involve putting a gun to somebody's head and telling them to write a will containing the terms desired by the gunman. Such a will, assuming the underlying facts can be proven in court, will never be valid. Of course, the validity of a will rarely becomes an issue until the testator has died, which may be years after the will was drafted. This means that proving the circumstances under which the will was made can often be very difficult. However, there are certain facts, such as the devise being to an "unnatural" beneficiary (somebody the testator didn't know very well, for instance), and the beneficiary being in a position of power over the decedent, are enough to at least create a suspicion that something is wrong.
Another thing to consider is the mental capacity of the person making the will. If, at the time the will was made, the testator was insane or severely intoxicated, the will is likely to be held invalid by a court, if the underlying facts can be proven.
If the contest is successful, a court in Anchorage, Alaska might find the will or part of it invalid. Of course, that leaves the question of how to distribute the property in the absence of a valid will. All states have laws that address this situation, normally passing the property to the decedent's closest living kin. All states have laws governing the order in which property is passed on in this manner. Usually, it goes to the spouse first. If there is no living spouse, it goes to the children. If there are no children, it goes to the decedent's parents, and so on. Most laws on this subject are written in such a way that almost everyone will have at least one relative entitled to inherit, even if that person is very distantly related to the decedent. In the very rare case where no living relatives exist, or none can be found, the decedent's assets usually go to the state.
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Can a Anchorage, Alaska Contested Will Attorney Help?
Contesting a will can be a confusing, emotional, expensive, and time-consuming process. There is really no way around this. However, a brilliant Anchorage, Alaska wills and estates attorney can minimize these problems, and make the process as painless as possible.
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Life in AnchorageAnchorage has been voted an "All America City" four times and makes up over 40% of Alaska's total population. The city motto is "Big Wild Life" and there's plenty of it. A survey found roughly 300 black bears and moose, along side 60 grizzly bears call Anchorage home year round. The numbers of moose increase over 1,000 in the winter months. There are also wolves, foxes, beavers, and all other manner of moderate and small native animals that can be easily spotted in Anchorage. That's why so many people decide to visit Anchorage each year.
The International Ice Carving Competition is one aspect to the annual of the Fur Rendezvous Festival held in Anchorage's Alaska Center for the Performing Arts. The festival had a record attendance in 2000 with over 250,000 people visiting. The legendary 9-15 day long Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race begins ceremonially each year downtown on 4th Street and ends in Nome, Alaska. The race stretches 1,049 miles that are timed. It's known as one of the most intense sporting events due to the distance and blizzards.