The probate process in Alaska can be a relatively simple and methodical process. In fact, for many estates, there might not be any need to begin court proceedings. The Classroom “Basics of Probate” gives an overview of probate in Alaska and discusses these simpler methods.
However, there are times when an estate will need to go through what is called a “formal” probate process in court. A formal probate is usually used for complicated issues such as challenges to a Will, disputes between beneficiaries ( persons named in the Will to receive property of the person who died, also called a devisee) or heirs (persons who inherit property from the person who died if the decedent did not make a Will), or supervision of the Personal Representative. For example, if there is a Will, disputes can arise as to whether the testator (the person who signed the Will) was mentally competent at the time of signing or whether someone improperly influenced the testator’s decisions.
The court system has the forms that can be used by non-lawyers to complete the probate process, but many people still need help choosing the right forms and completing them correctly. With this in mind, it is our hope that this presentation will help people get the formal probate process started if they cannot afford a lawyer to assist them. The Alaska Court system’s website has a great deal of information regarding the probate process in general, and an excellent “Self-Help Probate” section in particular. We encourage you to check out the material on the court system’s website to use along with this Classroom.