Inheritance Laws in Alaska

By Andrine Redsteer

In Alaska, as in other states, when a decedent doesn't make a will, his property and assets must be divided according to the state's inheritance laws. These laws, known as "laws of intestate succession," provide guidelines as to the priority of heirs and what happens to property when there are no heirs.

Spouse's Share

When an Alaskan makes a will, he is free to leave everything to his spouse. Because Alaska is an "opt-in" community property state, property acquired while married is considered equally owned by both spouses if they have a written agreement. If spouses have a community property agreement, they cannot give more than their share of community property to a third-party in a will. If a spouse dies without a will, the surviving spouse inherits the entire estate -- both community property and separate property -- if the deceased spouse has no surviving children or parents. However, if the deceased spouse has no children, but has a surviving parent, the surviving spouse can only receive up to $200,000, plus three-fourths of what remains of the estate.

Children

Alaska's inheritance laws provide for children when a parent fails to leave a will. For example, if an unmarried parent dies without a will, his children receive all of his estate in equal shares. This means that if there are four children, each child is entitled to one-fourth of the estate. Furthermore, if the parent who dies without a will is married at the time of death, his children are entitled to a portion of the estate if his surviving spouse had children with someone else, i.e. children with a man other than the deceased, for example, an ex-husband..

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Other Heirs

Alaska's inheritance laws state that a decedent's other heirs -- such as siblings, nieces, nephews and grandparents -- receive all, or a portion of the estate under certain circumstances. For example, if a decedent has no surviving spouse or children, his parents inherit his entire estate in equal shares. If a decedent has no surviving spouse, children or parents, his entire estate passes to his siblings in equal shares; nieces and nephews may inherit "by right of representation" if their parents are deceased. If there are no surviving heirs whatsoever, a decedent's estate will pass to the State of Alaska.

Alaska Natives

As a result of the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act, Native Alaskans may own shares in one of the 13 Regional Corporations or a village corporation. Alaska Natives may leave their shares in a will to Native family members and non-Native spouses. If an Alaska Native owns shares, but doesn't make a will, all of his shares will pass to his surviving spouse. If he has children and a surviving spouse, half of his shares will pass to his surviving spouse and the other half to his surviving children.

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The California Law When the Deceased Has No Will

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Mississippi Estate Inheritance Laws

If a Mississippi resident fails to make arrangements for the division of his property by making a will, his property will be divided according to state law. These laws are known as "laws of intestate succession," and they provide a distribution scheme that dictates a priority of heirs. In other words, certain relatives are entitled to all, or a portion of, a decedent's estate under certain circumstances -- if he didn't make a valid will. Dying without a valid will is known as dying "intestate."

North Dakota Inheritance Law

According to North Dakota's Uniform Probate Code, a state resident can explain how he would like his property divided in a last will and testament. However, there are certain guidelines a will maker, known as a testator, must follow to make a valid will. If these guidelines aren't followed, a will may be declared invalid. When this occurs -- or if an individual doesn't make a will at all -- the state laws of intestate succession then govern the division of property.

Laws Governing Estate Inheritance for Children in Louisiana

The rights of children to inherit their parents' estates are governed by Louisiana's Civil Code. The state's Civil Code is unique in many way. For example, Louisiana is the only state that prohibits parents from disinheriting children under 24 years of age. In this sense, a child has a greater right to inherit his parents' property in Louisiana than in other states.

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