General DefinitionA decedent's intestate estate is defined as any part of a decedent's estate not effectively disposed of by a valid will. Sec. 13.12.101.
Order of DistributionWhen a married person dies, the surviving spouse is entitled to the following
- the entire estate if no descendant or parent of the decedent survives the decedent or all of the decedent's surviving descendants are also descendants of the surviving spouse and there is no other descendant of the surviving spouse who survives the decedent;
- the first $200,000, plus three-fourths of any balance of the intestate estate, if no descendant of the decedent survives the decedent, but a parent of the decedent survives the decedent;
- the first $150,000, plus one-half of any balance of the intestate estate, if all of the decedent's surviving descendants are also descendants of the surviving spouse and the surviving spouse has one or more surviving descendants who are not descendants of the decedent;
- the first $100,000, plus one-half of any balance of the intestate estate, if one or more of the decedent's surviving descendants are not descendants of the surviving spouse. Sec.13.12.102.
The part of the intestate estate not passing to the decedent's surviving spouse passes in the following order
- to the decedent's descendants by representation;
- if there is no surviving descendant, to the decedent's parents equally;
- if there is no surviving descendant or parent, to the decedent's siblings or their issue by representation;
- if there is no surviving descendant, parent, sibling or their issue, but the decedent is survived by one or more grandparents or descendants of grandparents, 1/2 of the estate passes to the decedent's paternal grandparents and the other 1/2 passes to the decedent's maternal relatives in the same manner Sec. 13.12.103.
If there is no taker in accordance with Alaska Law, the estate passes to the State of Alaska. Sec. 13.12.105.
Common Law or Community PropertyAlaska is a common law, elective share state.
CapacityAn individual 18 or more years of age who is of sound mind may make a will. Sec. 13.12.501.
DraftingA will must be (1) in writing; (2) signed by the testator or in the testator's name by another individual in the testator's conscious presence and by the testator's direction; and (3) signed by at least two individuals, each of whom signs within a reasonable time after the witness witnesses either the signing of the will as described in (2) of this subsection or the testator's acknowledgment of that signature or the will. Sec. 13.12.502. An individual generally competent to be a witness may act as a witness to a will. The signing of a will by an interested witness does not invalidate the will or a provision of the will. Sec. 13.12.505.
A will that does not comply with the above requirements is valid as a holographic will, whether or not witnessed, if the signature and material portions of the document are in the testator's handwriting. Sec. 13.12.502.
A will may be made self-proved by acknowledgment by the testator and affidavits of the witnesses, each made before an officer authorized to administer oaths under the laws of the state in which execution occurs and evidenced by the officer's certificate, under official seal attached or annexed to the will. Sec. 13.12.504.
BeneficiariesA beneficiary who is not established by clear and convincing evidence to have survived an event, including the death of another individual, by 120 hours is considered to have predeceased the event. However, survival is not required if the testator includes a provision in his or her will dealing explicitly with simultaneous death or death in a common disaster or the imposition of the 120-hour requirement of survival would cause a nonvested property interest or a power of appointment to fail to qualify or to become invalid. Sec. 13.12.702.
ModificationsA will may be modified at the desire of the testator by a codicil executing in accordance with Alaska law.
A will or a part of a will is revoked by: (1) executing a subsequent will that revokes the previous will or part expressly or by inconsistency; or (2) performing a revocatory act on the will, if the testator performed the act with the intent and for the purpose of revoking the will or part of the will or if another individual performed the act in the testator's conscious presence and by the testator's direction. A "revocatory act on the will" includes burning, tearing, canceling, obliterating, or destroying the will or any part of it; whether or not the burn, tear, or cancellation touched any of the words on the will. If a subsequent will does not expressly revoke a previous will, the execution of the subsequent will wholly revokes the previous will by inconsistency if the testator intended the subsequent will to replace rather than supplement the previous will. If a subsequent will makes a complete disposition of the testator's estate, the testator is presumed to have revoked the previous will. Sec. 13.12.507.
If, after executing a will, the testator is divorced, the divorce revokes any revocable dispositions made to the former spouse. The divorce also revokes any provisions conferring a general or special power of appointment and any nomination of the former spouse as executor, trustee or guardian, unless the will specifically provides otherwise. The former spouse is treated as having predeceased the testator. Sec. 13.12.804.
Naming of ExecutorA decedent has the right to name the executor of his or her estate through a validly executed will.
Admission to ProbateAfter the death of a testator and on request of an interested person, a person having custody of a will of the testator should deliver it with reasonable promptness to a person able to secure its probate. If the person with custody does not know of a person able to secure the will's probate, delivery should be made to an appropriate court. A person who willfully fails to deliver a will is liable for any damages that may be sustained by the failure to act. A person who willfully refuses or fails to deliver a will after being ordered by the court in a proceeding brought for the purpose of compelling delivery is subject to penalty for contempt of court. Sec. 13.12.516.
If a decedent dies without naming an executor in a valid will, the party interested in serving as executor must be appointed by order of the court or registrar, qualify and be issued Letters of Administration. Sec. 13.16.015.
Submission of WillTo be effective to prove the transfer of property or to nominate an executor, a will must be declared to be valid by an order of informal probate by the registrar or by an adjudication of probate by the court. Sec. 13.16.010.
NotificationsNo later than 30 days after appointment, every personal representative must give information of the appointment to the heirs and devisees. The information should be delivered or sent by ordinary mail to each of the heirs and devisees whose address is reasonably available to the personal representative. The information must include the name and address of the personal representative, indicate that it is being sent to persons who have or may have some interest in the estate being administered, indicate whether bond has been filed and describe the court where papers relating to the estate are on file. The personal representative's failure to give this information is a breach of duty to the persons concerned but does not affect the validity of the appointment, the personal representative's powers or other duties. A personal representative may inform other persons of the appointment by delivery or ordinary first-class mail. Sec. 13.16.360.
InventoryWithin three months after appointment, a personal representative must prepare and file or mail an inventory of property owned by the decedent at the time of death, listing it with reasonable detail and indicating as to each listed item its fair market value as of the date of the decedent's death and the type and amount of any encumbrance that may exist. Sec. 13.16.365.
Homestead, Exempt Property, the Family and Elective SharesA decedent's surviving spouse is entitled to a homestead allowance of $27,000. If there is no surviving spouse, each minor child and each dependent child of the decedent is entitled to a homestead allowance amounting to $27,000 divided by the number of minor and dependent children of the decedent. The homestead allowance is exempt from and has priority over all claims against the estate. The homestead allowance is in addition to a share passing to the surviving spouse or minor or dependent child by the will of the decedent, unless otherwise provided, by intestate succession, or by way of elective share. Sec. 13.12.402.
In addition to the homestead allowance, a surviving spouse is entitled up to $10,000 worth of household furniture, automobiles, furnishings, appliances, and personal effects. If there is no surviving spouse, the decedent's children are jointly entitled to the same value. If encumbered chattels are selected and the value in excess of security interests, plus that of other exempt property, is less than $10,000, or if there is not $10,000 worth of exempt property in the estate, the spouse or children are entitled to other assets of the estate, if any, to the extent necessary to make up the $10,000 value. Sec. 13.12.403
A surviving spouse and any minor children who were supported by the decedent are entitled to a reasonable allowance in money out of the estate for their maintenance during the period of administration. The allowance may not continue for longer than one year if the estate is inadequate to discharge allowed claims. The allowance may be paid as a lump sum or in periodic installments. It is payable to the surviving spouse, if living, for the use of the surviving spouse and minor and dependent children; otherwise it is payable to the children, or persons having their care and custody. If a minor child or dependent child is not living with the surviving spouse, the allowance may be made partially to the child or the child's guardian or other person having the child's care and custody, and partially to the spouse, as their needs may appear. The family allowance is exempt from and has priority over all claims except the homestead allowance. Sec. 13.12.404(a). The family allowance is not chargeable against a benefit or share passing to the surviving spouse or children by the will of the decedent, unless otherwise provided, by intestate succession, or by way of elective share. Sec. 13.12.404(b)
When a married person dies, the surviving spouse is entitled to an elective share of the estate. The elective share is an amount equal to one-third of the augmented estate. However, if the sum of the elective share is less than $50,000, the surviving spouse is entitled to a supplemental elective share amount equal to $50,000 Sec. 13.12.202.
Debts and DistributionsWithin four months of the date of the first publication of the notice to creditors, the personal representative must pay the claims allowed against the estate in the order of priority, after making provision for homestead, family and support allowances. Sec. 13.16.480.
If the applicable assets of the estate are insufficient to pay all claims in full, the personal representative must make payment in the following order:
- costs and expenses of administration;
- reasonable funeral expenses;
- debts and taxes with preference under federal law and past due child support payments;
- reasonable and necessary medical and hospital expenses of the last illness of the decedent, including compensation of persons attending the decedent;
- debts and taxes with preference under other laws of this state;
- all other claims. Sec. 13.16.470.
Tax RateThere is no inheritance tax. The estate tax equals the total amount of the federal credit available to the estate on the estate's federal tax return. However, with the federal repeal of the credit for state estate taxes in 2005, there is currently no estate tax. Sec. 43.31.011.
Income Tax Charitable Deductions and/or Credits
No personal income tax in Alaska.
Gift Annuity Requirements
Alaska, a "notification" state, regulates the issuance of charitable gift annuities under Alaska Code Sec. 21.03.021 and 21.03.070. Charities must meet certain conditions in order to comply with state law. Failure to comply with state law may result in a civil penalty not to exceed $1,000 for each annuity issued by the charitable organization.
To qualify, charities must have been in continuous operation for three years and hold $300,000 in unrestricted assets (cash, cash equivalents or publicly traded securities exclusive of the assets funding the gift annuity agreement) at the time it enters into its first gift annuity agreement.
Notification ProcessWritten notification must be given to the Division of Insurance within 90 days of executing the first qualified gift annuity agreement. The notice must contain the signature of an officer or director of the charity, include the name and address of the organization, certify that the charity qualifies under Sec. 170(c) or Sec. 501(c)(3) and that the charitable gift annuities issued by the organization are qualified charitable gift annuities under IRC Sec. 501(m)(5) or Sec. 514(c)(5). Failure to comply may result in a civil penalty not to exceed $1,000 for each annuity issued by the charitable organization.
Disclosure LanguageGift annuity agreements must include the following state-required disclosure language in bold type, contained in a separate paragraph with print noticeably larger than is generally used in the agreement:
"This qualified charitable gift annuity is not an insurance policy in the State of Alaska, is not subject to regulation by the Insurance Division and is not protected by the Life and Health Insurance Guaranty Association established under Alaska Statute AS 21.79.040 or any other association that guarantees payment under a policy of insurance. The State of Alaska does not in any way approve or endorse this annuity agreement."
Reserve RequirementsAlaska does not require an issuing charity to hold any amount in reserve.
Annual Filing RequirementsOnce notification is given to the state, no further reporting is required.
State Contact InformationDavid Phifer
Division of Insurance
550 West 7th Ave., Suite 1560
Anchorage, Alaska 99501
Phone: (907) 269-7903