What You Need to Know About Will Laws in Alaska


A will’s purpose is to distribute your property and assets to the people and organizations you choose after your death. Learn from the legal perspective here.


What Is a Testamentary Will?


What Is a Testamentary Will sectionA testamentary will, simply called a will, is a legal document that specifies who will inherit your property when you die. In the event of death, a valid last will and testament is a crucial document that will make the probate process seamless.

It is also important to name a personal representative who will transfer the personal property of the deceased to the correct persons.

A will does not transfer property during a person’s lifetime and only affects an estate when a person dies.

Other documents like a power of attorney or a living will are effective while a person is alive.

Your surviving spouse or heirs can benefit from a well-written will and avoid making unnecessary mistakes or arguing over what you have left behind.


Who Can Make a Will in Alaska?


Who Can Make a Will in AlaskaAlaska allows anyone who is 18 years of age or older to make a valid will, as long as they are of sound mind. This includes married and unmarried people, divorcees, widows, and people who have never been married.

Making a will doesn’t require you to be wealthy. For example, you may only own one piece of real estate in one bank account.

However, if you value your estate and care about what happens to it, consider having an estate planning attorney help you write your Will to avoid any possible problems.


What Does it Mean to Be of Sound Mind?

If you are of sound mind to write a will, you must:

  • understand that you are making a will and what a will is
  • know your relationship with the people you include in the will, such as your spouse or partner
  • understand the relationship between yourself and the people you are including in your will, such as your spouse or children
  • understand what property you own and decide how to distribute your property.


What Are the Requirements for Making a Will in Alaska?


The legal requirements for a will to be valid in Alaska are as follows:

  • You must be at least 18 years old and “of sound mind.”
  • You must have an intention of having a valid will.
  • You must sign the will but if you are physically unable to sign it, someone else may sign it for you in your presence and under your direction.
  • The will must be in writing, either typewritten, computer-printed, or handwritten.
  • At least two witnesses must sign a typewritten or computer-printed will. This requirement does not apply to hand-written wills.


Handwritten Wills: What Are the Requirements?


Handwritten Wills What Are the RequirementsIf you’re planning on making a handwritten will, also known as a holographic will, it must be written entirely in your handwriting. This rule is the same for handwritten and typewritten wills.

A handwritten will must clearly state what you want to be done with your property and should also name a personal representative to handle your personal property.

However, if someone else writes something in your will or changes what you wrote without your knowledge, that will automatically becomes invalid.

Also, a holographic will also doesn’t require witnesses or a notary public’s signature.


Tips on Writing Handwritten Wills

If you are considering writing a will yourself, here are a few things to consider:

  • You must write the entire will in your own handwriting.
  • Identify yourself by name, age, and place of residence (city, town, or village).
  • Include a statement that you are of sound mind and under no undue influence or threats.
  • Use simple, clear language.
  • Specify what you want to happen to your property after your death and revoke all previous wills you may have written.
  • At the end of your Will, sign, and date the paper.
  • Don’t cross anything out or squeeze words in when you make a mistake. Instead, start over and write again from the beginning.

Once you’ve completed your Will, it’s a good idea to have an estate planning attorney review it to make sure that the Will reflects your intentions.


How Long Are Wills Valid in Alaska?


A will remains valid until it is revoked, changed, or destroyed. Sometimes, wills are found among personal items many years after the person died and that does not affect their validity.


What Happens if a Person Dies Without a Will or When the Will Is Invalid?


What Happens if a Person Dies Without a Will or When the Will Is InvalidIntestacy refers to the distribution of estate property to heirs when there is no will or when the will is invalid. Partial intestacy occurs when a person’s will does not include everything they owned.

In such cases, the heirs and surviving spouse inherit through intestate succession according to Alaska’s intestacy rules.

Not all property can be transferred under intestate succession. Intestacy laws only apply to assets that would have been transferred through your will.

Exempt property is the personal property of the person who died, worth up to $10,000, that the personal representative must give to certain family members


Why Do I Need an Alaska Attorney to Make a Will?


Even though it is not necessary to use a lawyer when drawing up a will, there are many good reasons to do so.

  1. Invaluable experience: The primary reason to use a lawyer when writing a will is that there is no substitute for experience and knowledge in this area of law.The internet has a lot of information about making wills. Still, it can be challenging for someone with no experience in this area to know what they need to do and what they should avoid doing to make sure their will works the way they want it to work.
  2. Frequent law amendments: Also, laws change frequently, and what is acceptable one year may not be accepted the following year. An experienced estate planning lawyer can explain all of these issues and ensure that your will is perfect.
  3. Interpretation issues: Using a lawyer is because the beneficiaries (the people you name in your will) might be unclear about interpreting conditions or clauses. To get answers to such questions, they will have to go to probate court. Your beneficiaries could get the help of your lawyer if you use one to prepare your will. This can also reduce the added expense of your beneficiaries hiring their own lawyers to help them interpret your will.
  4. Complicated family situations: Lastly, if you have a lot of assets or a complex family situation, it is especially crucial to use a lawyer to prepare your Will.

All in all, our lawyers can ensure that your property will be distributed according to your wishes and that your will is legally compliant.

Contact Wyatt & Butterfield LLC to assist you in all matters of wills, estate planning, and family law.


Does a Will Need to Be Probated in Alaska?


Yes. Whether or not a will is left by the deceased, probate is required to actually transfer the property of that person to other people. The probate process is generally the same with or without a will.

Probate is the entire process of administering a dead person’s estate by a probate court. During the probate process, property owned by a deceased person is transferred to the individuals who are intended to receive it.

There is a probate requirement when a person dies and owns property that is not automatically transferred to someone else. Through this process, a personal representative transfers the personal property to the correct person.

Probate is also necessary when handling other situations like creditor’s claims against the deceased or the deceased’s estate assets, settling disagreements between beneficiaries or heirs, and appointing a guardian of a minor.


Does a Will Need to Be Notarized in Alaska


Does a Will Need to Be Notarized in AlaskaNo. According to Alaska law, you don’t need to notarize your will. It is advisable that witnesses append their names in front of the notary.


What You Need to Remember About Will Laws in Alaska


Your last will and testament is a document that holds your instructions on how you want your property and assets to be distributed. It doesn’t matter if you have a large or small estate. You can also appoint a guardian for any minor children you may have in your will.

Wills can be complicated for many reasons, including the ever-changing state laws. It is important to hire an attorney to help you with this process so that you can make sure your loved ones are taken care of after you’re gone!

There are a lot of rules to remember, so make sure you contact an estate planning attorney today.