Wills and Trusts in Juneau, AK

Are you concerned about how much your estate in Juneau could lose to probate?

According to The Balance, your worries are well-founded. In the best-case scenario, you could only lose a few hundred dollars to the process. However, there are precedents where it can take thousands from your estate. Even worse, the legal battle could take months or even years.

Here’s the good news: careful planning and legal expertise can protect your legacy. The details below will help you identify options and execute them with a highly-qualified local attorney.

How Do Wills and Trusts Work?

Wills and trusts ensure your estate in Juneau, Alaska distributes the way you want. Death is not pleasant to think about but making sure these plans are in place can prevent complications.

So how do wills and trusts work? An estate planning attorney is not a requirement, but you may find their advice invaluable. Either document must meet the criteria for the state, so you want to be sure to do the i’s and cross the t’s.

Trust vs Will

Wills and trusts play a role in ensuring the distribution of your estate after you pass away. But they have different approaches and functions in Juneau, AK.

A will is a legally binding document that describes your assets, where they should go, and how the distribution of said assets should happen. Meanwhile, a trust creates a financial relationship between parties that directly transfers savings, property, or investments. The two often work together as critical parts of your estate planning strategy.

How to Create a Will or Trust in Juneau, Alaska

Identify Your Assets

Creating a will or trust begins with accounting for every asset in your estate. An experienced estate planning attorney can better help you navigate this process. Once you have confidence that you understand what needs distribution, you can do so with clear goals.

Choose the Distribution

You want a clear explanation of how your assets should be distributed. It’s also important to consider assets beyond your control. For instance, a life insurance policy or a 401k may have designated beneficiaries.

Choose the Executor of your Juneau, AK Will or Trust

The executor of your will or trust takes on the legal responsibility to execute your wishes. While it’s a given that you want to choose someone you can trust, it’s worth considering your attorney or an accountant for the job. A reliable trust attorney or will attorney can help you make better-informed decisions.

The Alaska Court System says a representative for an estate should be 19 or older. Alternatively, you can choose a trust company or bank in Juneau to fulfill this role.

Choose a Guardian

Unless you want the court to appoint a guardian, you may want to assign one for your dependents. Then, name them as such in the will.

Sign with Witnesses

After you have reasonable confidence that everything is in order, it’s time to make the document official. To make the will or trust legal, you and the witnesses should sign the document. An experienced estate planning attorney can better help ensure the validity of your will or trust.

Update and Create your Will or Trust as Necessary

You may feel locked into your will after all the preparation. But you don’t have to feel married to your decisions. If circumstances change, don’t hesitate to make changes to ensure your final wishes are clear.

There are several valid reasons to change your final testament. Generally, Juneau residents will want to review this document after significant life changes. Marriages, deaths, or divorces are frequent examples of when you may need to consult an attorney about alterations.

The Different Types of Wills in Juneau, AK

Simple Will

As the name suggests, a simple will meets the basic requirements. However, it remains subject to probate. This document only outlines how you would like your assets distributed by an executor.

Joint Will

Two individuals, usually a married couple, create a joint will. While this is a single document, the courts can treat it as two separate entities.

Living Will

It may sound obvious that writing a will happens while you are alive. But, this legal document establishes directives regarding your wishes for end-of-life care. If you become incapacitated and cannot express your desires, this tells doctors your preferences in advance. This type of will typically does not include beneficiaries and serves this sole function.

Holographic Will

A holographic will is a handwritten-only document signed by the testator. It does not matter if you write it on a napkin or paper.

Most states require witnesses to sign a testament to validate their intentions. However, these may be legally valid, especially when created during emergencies.

Alaska Statutes offer a simple requirement for the admissibility of holographic wills. You have to prove the last testament of someone in Juneau is in their handwriting.

Pour-Over Will

A pour-over will is a testament that creates a trust and specifies the property that will transfer. This legal document acts as a safety measure that can transfer assets that might not have done so otherwise.

The Different Types of Trusts in Juneau, AK

Irrevocable Trust

This type of trust cannot be changed or terminated without permission from the beneficiaries. Consequently, the grantor gives up all rights of ownership. This arrangement can have significant tax advantages, but it can have its drawbacks based on your circumstances.

Revocable Trust

This trust gives the flexibility necessary for the grantor to make modifications until they pass away. If you need the funds in a trust for living expenses while living, this can provide a solution. One that still distributes an estate as desired.

Family Trust

People create this trust to care for their family members after they’re gone. This arrangement provides an opportunity to have peace of mind that family members have access to the share of the assets you designated.

Charitable Trust

A charitable trust might be the right choice if you want to leave a philanthropic legacy. It can also ensure that you take care of your family and loved ones. Some individuals leave behind business ownership, stocks, or real estate if they have the means.

How to Avoid Probate in Juneau, AK

States have similarities in how they distribute assets that go to probate. But as always, the devil is in the details. However, it is a requirement unless the estate is small.

The Alaska Court System estimates the probate process takes around six months. However, this estimate is an average, and disputes over disbursements can take years to resolve. Ideally, the following steps will happen with little to no interruption in Juneau:

  • Notifying creditors about the opening of probate proceedings
  • Paying any debts the estate owes to creditors
  • Hearings for any challenges to the content of the will

Work with an Experienced Juneau, Alaska Estate Planning Will and Trust Attorney

Planning for your eventual death is not a pleasant task. Along the way, you may wonder how wills and trusts work in Juneau AK.

It is tedious, but you should ensure your family and legacy are secured. The law does not require an individual to hire a trust attorney or will lawyer, but they can prove invaluable. If you feel like you need help, it is worth your time to consider hiring an experienced estate planning attorney.

We can even help you connect with legal help across Alaska state lines. Request help online or call us today at (866)-345-6784 to speak to a local will and trust attorney!

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