Anchorage Estate Planning

Find the right Wills & Trusts attorney in Anchorage, AK

In Anchorage, Alaska, probate is a legal procedure that a court must go through before giving effect to a will. Before putting a will into effect, a court has to determine that it is valid. For a will to be valid, the following requirements must be met:

  • The testator must be at least 18.
  • The testator must understand what a will is.
  • The testator must understand the relationships one has with friends/family and know what kind of property he or she owns.
  • The testator must sign the will.
  • The will must be signed by two to three witnesses or be handwritten.
  • State which specific persons will inherit which specific property.
  • Name an executor to carry out the will.

Do I Need to go to Probate Court in Anchorage, Alaska

As part of this process, the Anchorage, Alaska probate court will determine the validity of the will, inventory the decedent's assets and debts, and then, finally, distribute the estate according to the will, assuming it is found to be valid.

Probate is a court mandated legal process that attempts to distribute the estate of someone who dies. The goal of the probate process is to:

  • Verify the validity of the deceased's will
  • Identify and inventory the deceased person's property
  • Have property appraised
  • Pay the deceased's remaining debts and taxes
  • Distribute the deceased's property

Wills often name a person as the executor of the estate. If not, the court in Anchorage, Alaska will name one. This is most often the adult individual who stands to inherit the most money or property from the will.

The executor is the person responsible for initiating the probate proceedings. The person who would inherit the most from the will is appointed, because they have the greatest reason to move the process along as quickly as possible, so they can get their inheritance.

In Anchorage, Alaska, initiating a probate process is fairly easy. Whether or not the descendent died with a Will, an application for probate will need to be filed in an Alaska Probate Court.

The general procedure required settling an estate via probate in Alaska is the following:

  1. The Will must be filed in the District Court in the county where the decedent is a resident.
  2. Decide whether the case will be an informal probate or formal probate
  3. Court will then appoint a personal representative
  4. Personal representative will find a bond within 30 days of receiving request to file bond
  5. Personal representative will apply for a EIN from IRS
  6. Notice of the Probate must be published in a newspaper where the decedent lived. Creditors must file a claim within 3 weeks
  7. An inventory of the estate's assets must be filed with the court within 3 months of appointment of the personal representative.
  8. Personal representative will begin paying valid debts and creditors claims.
  9. Once all of the creditors and taxes have been paid, a Petition to close the probate must be filed with the court.
  10. The Court will issue an Order, distributing the estate's property to the beneficiaries.
  11. Court will then release personal representative

Duties of the Executor in Anchorage, Alaska

The executor has many duties concerning the will. First, they have to actually initiate the probate proceedings, which must be finished before the will is effectuated. Duties of an executor include the following:

  • Taking inventory of the testator's estate
  • Appraising and distributing the assets according to the testator's wishes
  • Paying any taxes on property
  • Settling debts owed by the deceased

The executor is legally bound to act in the best interests of the testator, following their wishes as outlined in the will. If you have been named as an executor and you do not want to serve or are not able, you will have to file a declination. A declination is a legal document that declines your assignment as executor.

Additionally, the executor has to make sure that the decedent's relatives and other people named in the will have notice of the testator's death, usually through the filing of a copy of the official death certificate.

Executors are also required to make available an accounting of the testator's debts and assets, so their affairs can be wound up, along with a list of everyone who is named in the will, or otherwise stands to inherit.

Furthermore, the executor is required to take a leading role in proving the validity of the will. The executor obviously has an incentive to see the process through, since they cannot inherit until probate is complete.

Do I Need a Lawyer to Make a Will in Anchorage, Alaska?

If your estate is large and consists of many assets, it is recommended that you consult an experienced estate planning attorney when creating a will. However, even if your estate is smaller and consists of a few assets wherein a simple will would suffice, it's best to consult an attorney to ensure that your assets are distributed according to your wishes at your death.

Talk to a Wills, Trusts & Estates Law Attorney now!

Life in Anchorage

Anchorage 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.

Tourism play a major role in the economy with natural resource extraction, local and federal government, transportation services, and the military. There are two major military installations in Anchorage, Elmendorf Air Force Base and Fort Richardson, as well as the Kullis Air National Guard Base. In addition to military personnel, the military employs another 8,600 Anchorage civilians. There are a number of airlines headquartered in Anchorage like Alaska Central Express and Hageland Aviation Services but the petroleum industry is one of the most important. Giants like BP and ConocoPhillips have drilling and transportation services in Anchorage that employ thousands of locals.

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.

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