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Cost of Probate in Alaska

Curious about the cost of probate in Alaska? Read our guide that covers everything about Alaska probate fees.

The process of probate isn’t very hard to understand. It’s really just a court proceeding that often happens after someone passes away. In short, it’s the formal, legal way that an Executor (sometimes referred to as a Personal Representative) gains the authority to settle an estate on behalf of a deceased party. This begins the process of the full value of the estate being assessed so that taxes can be paid, debts can be settled and finally, remaining assets can be distributed to any beneficiaries or heirs. 

Probate can be troublesome for families - it can take time and money, while adding stress to grieving loved ones. Being prepared and knowing what to expect can help alleviate some of that stress. 

How much you can expect the cost of probate in Alaska to actually be will depend on a number of factors, including: 

  • How big and complex the estate is

  • Whether or not you use a probate attorney to assist you

  • If there’s a valid Will or Trust in place

  • And other factors

As you can see, there is no one, clear answer in regards to what the average cost of probate in Alaska is.  

Common Probate Fees in Alaska

In Alaska, an estate will go through probate when there is any property to be distributed that’s not directly passing through to an heir (for example, a life insurance policy will have a named beneficiary, and proceeds would go directly to that named person or people; it would not go through probate). Probate is also necessary when there’s no Will (when an estate owner dies Intestate) or any other known Estate Plan in place. 

Probate costs in Alaska can vary, but there are a number of common fees you might encounter, including: 

  • Attorney fees

  • Filing fees

  • Court costs

  • Executor’s (Personal Representative) fee; Alaska is a reasonable compensation state

  • Estate Bond (also known as Executor, Probate or Fiduciary Bonds) 

  • Professional fees: Appraisers; Accountants; Land Surveyors

  • Etc.

Common Questions About Probate in Alaska

How Long Does Probate Take in Alaska?

The probate process in Alaska can take anywhere from six months to a year, often longer. The complexity and size of the state both come into play. Small estates and the Affidavit process can be completed after a waiting period of just 30 days. 

What is UPC in Alaska?

The Uniform Probate Code (UPC) was created to streamline the probate process nationally. Alaska is one of 18 states that adopted the code, which stipulates that there are three types of probate proceedings:

  • Informal

  • Unsupervised

  • Supervised formal 

How Much Does a Probate Lawyer Cost in Alaska?

Probate attorney fees in Alaska are generally billed by the hour.

How Can You Avoid Probate in Alaska?

Not all estates are required to go through probate in Alaska. Estates that fall into any of these categories can avoid the process:

  • The value of the estate is below the “small estate” threshold (see below for more information on what constitutes a small estate in Alaska)

  • Any assets that will pass through to heirs automatically, including:

    • Assets titled as Joint Tenancy  

    • Property Titled Tenancy by the Entirety (or Community Property With Right of Survivorship)

    • Assets with direct beneficiary designations

    • Transfer on Death (TOD) deeds or Payable on Death (POD) accounts

  • There is a Living Trust present that holds most of the estate assets (and any assets outside the Trust equal less in value than Alaska’s small state threshold limit)

What is Considered a Small Estate in Alaska?

Estates in Alaska that are under the “small estate” limit can result in a simplified procedure known as summary probate (filing a couple forms and waiting 30 days before asset distribution can take place). This can completely eliminate the need for any court proceeding. Alaska’s “small estate” threshold is:

  • The estate value (after debts owed are paid) is less than $50,000 in personal property and $100,000 in vehicles. 

The process can be even simpler using an Affidavit procedure if the estate value totals less than $100,000 in vehicles and $50,000 in personal property. Alaska has a 30-day wait period when using the Affidavit procedure. After that, heirs can receive inheritance using a signed simple statement. 

Who Pays Probate Fees in Alaska

Costs associated with probate, along with probate attorney fees in Alaska, generally come out of the estate’s value.