Alaska Estate Planning Considerations

Common-Law State

While Alaska is a common law state, a married couple can treat the particular property as community according to the statute. Alaska is a Common Law State, which means the rules governing the ownership, division, and inheritance of income and property acquired by a husband or wife during their marriage hold that subject to various qualifications, each spouse owns and has complete control over their own her income and property.

The Uniform Marital Property Act was enacted in 1983 by the Uniform Law Commissioners. It was created to encourage sharing by spouses of property acquired during marriage by creating a property class in which husbands and wives have an equal interest. Wisconsin was the first state to adopt the Act. Alaska allows spouses to choose community property by written agreement.

Last Will and Testament

Will Creation

The minimum age of a person competent to create a will is 18. The number of witnesses necessary to execute a will is two.

Revocation of a Will  

A will or a part of a will is revoked:

By executing a subsequent will that revokes the previous will or part expressly or by inconsistency; or

By performing a revocatory act on the will, if the testator performed the Act with the intent and to revoke 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; in this paragraph, “revocatory act on the will” includes burning, tearing, canceling, obliterating, or destroying the will or any part of it; a “revocatory act on the will” includes burning, tearing, or canceling whether or not the burn, tear, or cancellation touched any of the words on the will.

Alaska Uniform Transfers to Minors Act (UTMA)

The custodial arrangement terminates when:

  • The minor child reaches age 21 for custodial transfers made by irrevocable lifetime gift, will, or trust, or exercise of a power of appointment (donor may override by specifying any age from 18 through 25).
  • The minor child reaches age 18 concerning other custodial transfers.
  • The minor child dies.

Dying without a Last Will, the Alaska laws of Intestacy.

The estate goes to the surviving spouse, as follows:

 If there are no surviving descendants or parents, —100% of the estate (with special rules for stock owned according to the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act)

 If all descendants are also descendants of the spouse and the spouse has no other surviving descendant, —100% of the estate

 If there are a surviving parent(s) but no surviving descendants—$200,000 plus 75% of the balance of the estate

 If all surviving descendants are also descendants of the spouse and the spouse has one or more descendants who are not also descendants of the decedent—$150,000 plus 50% of the balance of the estate

 If any descendant is not also a descendant of the spouse—$100,000 plus 50% of the balance of the estate

If there is no surviving spouse, or if a portion of the estate does not go to the spouse:

 100% (or applicable portion) of the estate goes to descendants by representation (see AS §13.12.106)

If there is no surviving spouse or descendant:

 100% to surviving parent or parents equally

If there is no surviving spouse, descendant, or parent:

 100% to descendants of parents, by representation (see AS §13.12.106)

If none of the above:

 Intestacy laws dictate further distribution steps to the level of grandparents and related individuals. See AS §13.12.103(4).

 If no legally described recipient can be found, estate assets go to the state of Alaska.

Digital Assets

 Alaska follows the Revised Uniform Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act to ensure that testators can retain control of their digital property and plan for its ultimate disposition


Inheritance Tax

Alaska does not impose an inheritance tax.

Credit Estate Tax

Alaska imposes an estate tax equal to the maximum credit allowed under the federal tax code for paid state estate and inheritance taxes under IRC Sec. 2011. However, the current federal tax code does not permit a credit for paid state estate or inheritance taxes. Therefore, Alaska has no credit estate tax in effect at this time.

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