Estate Planning in Alaska

Dying is not a topic that many individuals want to discuss, let alone plan for. However, if you are a parent or have family members you want to provide for after your demise it is important that you take some time to create a will or plan how you would like to dispose of your estate. Without a will your family and close friends could find themselves in an awkward situation.

What Happens When You Die Without a Will?

Many people do not think it is important to bother with a will at all. Some who feel that way do not want to deal with the possibility of their death while others do not feel they have enough property or money to bother with a will. Regardless of your personal feeling if you own anything at all or have individuals that depend on you it is important that you create a will.

Without a will in the state of Alaska your assets will be given to your immediate family in a formula predetermined by the state. If you are married the bulk of your estate will go to your spouse even if you have parents or children. In situations where your children are also your spouses’ children then your spouse automatically receives the entire estate. If your children are your spouses’ children and your spouse has additional children that are not yours then your spouse will receive the first $150,000 of your state and your children will receive only one-half of your remaining estate.

Even if your children are not your spouses’ children then your spouse will still get the first $100,000 of the estate and one half of the remaining estate. In the event that you and your spouse do not have children but you have parents living your parents will only receive one fourth of the remaining balance of your estate after your spouse has been given the first $200,000. So you see, without a will your children and parents could be left with much less than you intended them to have.

How to Make a Will?

Anyone that is over the age of 18 can create a will in Alaska. The will can be signed by the individual creating the will or a person acting under the direction of the creator of the will. All wills in Alaska must be witnessed by two people and these witnesses must sign the will in order for it to be considered valid.

How to Leave Money to Heirs Without a Will?

It is possible to leave property and money to individuals without using a will. The most common practice is to leave life insurance policies to specific beneficiaries. Another way to leave money to an individual without creating a will is to leave a trust or IRA ( Individual Retirement Plan) to an heir or several heirs. It is possible to divide these assets by certain percentages and distribute these percentages to established heirs. When leaving property to heirs consider making a gift of the property before death or holding the property jointly with rights of survivorship.

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