A Will is a legal document that tells people how you want your property distributed after you die. A valid Will provides assurance that your property will go to the people you choose.
Many people think that if they die without a Will, their property goes to the State. This rarely happens. Since most people die without a Will, the State of Alaska has a plan as to how your property will be divided if you die without a Will. These rules are called the rules of intestacy, and are discussed in the Section “What Happens if you Die Without a Will”.
Usually, this plan is pretty close to what most people would want to happen. However, in order to make sure your intentions are met, you should take it upon yourself to have a Will prepared to avoid problems.
What does a Will do?
A Will is a written document that takes effect only after you die.
- It specifies how your property should be distributed upon your death.
- It can name a personal representative that you trust will carry out the terms of your Will.
- It can nominate a guardian for your minor children.
- It can express your preferences as to how your body should be handled.
Do you need an Attorney?
This is a very complex area of law and it is recommended that you have an attorney’s help. If you don’t qualify for free services from Alaska Legal Services and need to go to a private attorney, the average fee for a simple Will ranges from $700 to $1,200.
Regardless, many people will write their own will, usually using free forms for preparing a “do-it-yourself” Will found on the internet. If you cannot have an attorney help you, please do not rely on a random website to write your will. Those forms may not work in Alaska. The information presented here provides Alaska specific information for people who are going to write their own will.